Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Psychiatry. 1997 Nov;154(11):1566-70.

Association of panic disorder with a history of traumatic suffocation.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Stellenbosch, Tygerberg, South Africa.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

An important recent hypothesis suggests that panic disorder results from a false suffocation alarm. However, the association of panic disorder with a history of traumatic suffocation experiences (e.g., near-drowning and near-choking) has not been well studied. This study examined whether a history of traumatic suffocation might be more common in patients with panic disorder who have predominantly respiratory symptoms.

METHOD:

Patients with panic disorder (N = 176) and psychiatric comparison subjects (N = 60) were questioned about a history of traumatic suffocation experiences. The panic disorder patients were classified as having predominantly respiratory, cardiovascular, occulovestibular, or gastrointestinal symptoms in order to determine a possible association between traumatic suffocation and symptom subtype.

RESULTS:

The frequency of traumatic suffocation was significantly higher among the panic disorder patients (19.3%) than among the comparison subjects (6.7%). Within the panic disorder group, patients with a history of traumatic suffocation were significantly more likely to exhibit predominantly respiratory symptoms and nocturnal panic attacks, while patients without such a history were significantly more likely to have predominantly cardiovascular symptoms, occulovestibular symptoms, and agoraphobia.

CONCLUSIONS:

There may be a specific association between panic disorder and a history of traumatic suffocation, and such a history in turn appears associated with predominantly respiratory symptoms and nocturnal panic attacks. Although additional studies are needed to confirm these data, a history of traumatic suffocation might be hypothesized to play a role in the etiology of panic disorder in some patients and may provide a useful window on understanding the psychobiology of this disorder.

Comment in

PMID:
9356565
DOI:
10.1176/ajp.154.11.1566
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Atypon
    Loading ...
    Support Center