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Br J Gen Pract. 1994 Aug;44(385):352-6.

Controlled comparison of the characteristics of patients with panic disorder.

Author information

1
Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Increased general practice attendance rates have been associated with the diagnosis of mental illness but panic disorder has not been specifically investigated in this respect. In addition, studies have failed adequately to assess type and frequency of secondary care referral and patterns of psychotropic prescription in patients with panic disorder in relation to matched controls.

AIM:

This study set out to compare subjects with panic disorder with age and sex matched controls on measures of general practice consultation rate; psychotropic and non-psychotropic drug use; referral to secondary care, laboratory and radiological tests and hospital admissions; history of illness and complaints; and psychiatric comorbidity.

METHOD:

The study was carried out in nine practices in the Forth Valley area. One hundred patients with panic disorder, previously diagnosed using DSM III-R criteria, were identified and matched by age and sex with controls. Data were collected by review of general practice case notes.

RESULTS:

Subjects with panic disorder had significantly higher rates of general practice consultation over the 10 year period prior to DSM III-R diagnosis of panic disorder than controls. Subjects with panic disorder had also been prescribed a significantly greater number of psychotropic and non-psychotropic medications over this period, had had more secondary care investigations and had higher rates of mainly minor illness and related complaints than controls. High comorbidity of panic disorder with depression which had been diagnosed over the 10 year period prior to DSM III-R diagnosis of panic disorder was found.

CONCLUSION:

The results of this study describe a population of subjects with panic disorder who are long-term heavy users of primary care services. The results also suggest an association between panic disorder and both minor illness and psychiatric comorbidity over the 10 year period prior to DSM III-R diagnosis of panic disorder.

PMID:
8068393
PMCID:
PMC1238951
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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