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Psychosomatic Medicine:
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Migraine headaches and panic attacks

Stewart, W F; Linet, M S; Celentano, D D

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Abstract

: Migraine headache and panic attacks are two common conditions which first occur at an early age and appear to have a number of underlying physiologic abnormalities in common. In a population-based telephone interview survey examining headache occurrence in approximately 10,000 subjects, 12-29 years old, we assessed the prevalence of panic disorder (and a less severe entity designated as panic syndrome) using an abbreviated version of the National Institute of Mental Health Diagnostic Interview Survey. Subjects with panic disorder or panic syndrome reported more frequent occurrence of headaches during the preceding week, as well as headaches of longer duration and substantially more headaches with migraine symptoms than individuals without a history of panic attack. Males with panic disorder were 7 times more likely than those without this condition to report the occurrence of a migraine headache in the previous week. In addition, 5.5% of males and 9.5% of females with panic disorder or panic syndrome reported 25% of the total migraine headaches described by all study subjects in the one-week recall period.

Copyright (C) 1989 by American Psychosomatic Society

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