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The Epidemiology of DSM-IV Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia in the United States: Results From the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions

J Clin Psychiatry 2006;67(3):363-374

Objective: To present nationally representative data on the prevalence, correlates, and comorbidity of DSM-IV panic disorder (PAN), including the differentiation between panic with agoraphobia (PDA) and without agoraphobia (PDWA) and agoraphobia without a history of panic disorder (AG).

Method: The data were derived from the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (N = 43,093). Prevalence, correlates, and comorbidity of PAN, PDA, and PDWA with Axis I and II disorders were determined.

Results: Prevalences of 12-month and lifetime PAN were 2.1% and 5.1%. Rates of 12-month and lifetime PDWA were 1.6% and 4.0%, exceeding those of 12-month (0.6%) and lifetime (1.1%) PDA. Rates of 12-month and lifetime AG were extremely low, 0.05% and 0.17%. Being female, Native American, middle-aged, widowed/separated/divorced, and of low income increased risk, while being Asian, Hispanic, or black decreased risk for PAN, PDA, and PDWA. Individuals with PDA were more likely to seek treatment and had earlier ages at onset and first treatment, longer episodes, and more severe disability, impairment, panic symptomatology, and Axis I and II comorbidity than those with PDWA.

Conclusion: PDA may be a more severe variant of PAN. Overrepresentation of PDA in treatment settings reflects increased treatment seeking and the severity of PDA relative to PDWA. The very low prevalence of AG leaves open questions about the meaning of the disorder as a distinct clinical entity as defined in the DSM-IV.