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AGORAPHOBIA WITHOUT A HISTORY OF PANIC DISORDER MAY BE PART OF THE PANIC DISORDER SYNDROME

ANDREWS, GAVIN M.D.1; SLADE, TIM B.SC.1

Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease: September 2002 - Volume 190 - Issue 9 - pp 624-630
Article

Agoraphobia without a history of panic attacks is a disorder lacking strong support. Data from the Australian National Survey were explored in respect to panic disorder with or without agoraphobia (PDA, PD), and agoraphobia without a history of panic disorder (AG). Panic disorder, agoraphobia, and panic disorder with agoraphobia occurred in 3.5% of the adult population. People with this group of disorders were more likely to be female and more likely to seek help than people with other anxiety disorders. Significant anxiety symptoms and unease about safety when out and about occur in all three disorders. People with the double disorder PDA report more comorbid disorders, are more disabled, and have higher neuroticism scores than people with PD or AG. People with AG are older and consult less than people with PD or PDA. Agoraphobia has been devalued as a cause of human suffering. This idea is wrong. Agoraphobia is as common, comorbid, and disabling as PD, but less disabling than the double disorder of PDA.

1School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales at St Vincent’s Hospital.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Professor Gavin Andrews, Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression, 299 Forbes Street, Darlinghurst, NSW, 2010, Australia. E-mail: gavina@crufad.unsw.edu.au

The National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being was an initiative of, and funded by, the Australian Commonwealth Department of Health and Family Services as part of the National Mental Health Strategy.

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.