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panic disorder environmental factors

panic disorder

Environmental Factors
A number of uncontrolled trials have suggested that agoraphobic avoidance (and thus probably the first panic attack) is preceded by a major life event in a majority of subjects. Controlled retrospective trials, however, have not been completely consistent. One study found that panic disorder subjects reported a greater number of stressors during the year before onset of their symptoms compared with normal controls. Similarly, more symptoms were reported by one group of agoraphobics in the year before onset of the disorder compared with another group of agoraphobics in a year not immediately before onset.
However, other studies have not found a greater number of stressors reported by panic disorder subjects compared with individuals with other anxiety disorders. Simply experiencing a stressor may not be the important factor: Two studies found that panic disorder subjects report a greater impact of stressors than normal controls but not more than individuals with other anxiety disorders. Of course, these results may have been influenced by retrospective distortion, and final decisions will have to await prospective studies.

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