Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Panic Disorder Is Highly Chronic. (Relapse Likely)

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Panic Disorder Is Highly Chronic. (Relapse Likely)

Article excerpt

PHILADELPHIA -- Panic disorder is highly chronic and likely to relapse when it remits, particularly if it is accompanied by agoraphobia, Dr. Steven Bruce said at the annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy.

Concurrent depression makes remission less likely and relapse more frequent, said Dr. Bruce of Brown University, Providence, R.I.

The long-term course of anxiety disorders in general, and panic disorder in particular has not been widely studied, compared with schizophrenia and mood disorders. Dr. Bruce reported data from 8 years of a 12-year project conducted by Harvard University and Brown University, involving 359 patients with panic disorder with agoraphobia, and 84 who had panic without agoraphobia. Nearly 75% were female.

Comorbidity was highly prevalent regardless of the presence of agoraphobia: 23% had concurrent social phobia at intake, 26% generalized anxiety disorder, 35% major depressive disorder.

The number of remissions rose over the initial 4 years of the study and then reached a plateau. "If a patient is not better in the first few years, he will probably remain ill," Dr. …

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