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Scand J Prim Health Care. 2012 Dec;30(4):247-53. doi: 10.3109/02813432.2012.732471. Epub 2012 Oct 31.

Panic disorder in primary care: comorbid psychiatric disorders and their persistence.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. virpi.tilli@elisanet.fi

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Although 70-80% of panic disorder patients use primary care to obtain mental health services, relatively few studies have examined panic patients in this setting. This study aimed to examine both the lifetime and current comorbid psychiatric disorders associated with panic disorder in primary care, the duration and severity of the disorder, and the sociodemographic factors associated with it.

DESIGN:

Patients were screened for panic disorder. Panic disorder and the comorbid disorders were determined using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I and II.

SETTING:

Eight different health care centers in primary care in the city of Espoo.

SUBJECTS:

Finnish-speaking, between 18 and 65 years of age.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Comorbid psychiatric disorders, the duration and severity of the disorder, and the sociodemographic factors.

RESULTS:

A sample of 49 panic disorder patients and 44 patients with no current psychiatric diagnosis were identified; 98% of panic disorder patients had at least one comorbid lifetime DSM-IV Axis I disorder. Major depressive disorder and other anxiety disorders were most common comorbid disorders. Lifetime alcohol use disorders also showed marked frequency. Interestingly, the remission rates of alcohol use disorders were notable. The panic symptoms appeared to persist for years. Panic disorder was associated with low education and relatively low probability of working full time.

CONCLUSIONS:

Also in primary care panic disorder is comorbid, chronic, and disabling. It is important to recognize the comorbid disorders. High remission rates of comorbid alcohol use disorders encourage active treatment of patients also suffering from these disorders.

PMID:
23113695
PMCID:
PMC3520420
DOI:
10.3109/02813432.2012.732471
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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