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Lifetime panic–depression comorbidity in the National Comorbidity Survey: Association with symptoms, impairment, course and help-seeking

  • Peter P. Roy-Byrne (a1), Paul Stang (a2), Hans-Ulrich Wittchen (a3), Bedirhan Ustun (a4), Ellen E. Walters (a5) and Ronald C. Kessler (a5)...
Abstract
Background

Most prior studies of panic-depression comorbidity have been limited methodologically by use of small clinical samples and incomplete analyses.

Aims

General population data were used to study the association of lifetime and recent (12 months) panic–depression comorbidity with symptom severity, impairment, course and help-seeking in the National Comorbidity Survey (NCS).

Method

The NCS is a nationally representative survey of the prevalences and correlates of major DSM–III–R disorders in the US household population.

Results

Strong lifetime and current comorbidity were found between panic and depression. Comorbidity was associated with greater symptom severity, persistence, role impairment, suicidality and help-seeking, with many findings persisting after controlling for additional comorbid diagnoses. Findings did not differ according to which disorder was chronologically primary.

Conclusions

Both lifetime and current panic–depression comorbidity are markers for more severe, persistent and disabling illness. Neither additional comorbid diagnoses nor the primary–secondary distinction were important moderators of these associations.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Peter Roy-Byrne, Professor and Vice-Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, University of Washington at Harborview Medical Center, 325 9th Avenue, Box 35911, Seattle, WA 98104, USA. Tel: (206) 731-3404; fax: (206) 731-3236
Footnotes
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Address comments or questions about the NCS data set to: R. C. Kessler, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, 180 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Tel: (617) 432-3587; fax: (617) 432-3588. See Acknowledgements for instructions on how to obtain a complete list of NCS documents and a copy of the NCS public use data tape from the Internet.

Declaration of interest

Funding received from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the W.T. Grant Foundation and SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals.

Footnotes
References
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Lifetime panic–depression comorbidity in the National Comorbidity Survey: Association with symptoms, impairment, course and help-seeking

  • Peter P. Roy-Byrne (a1), Paul Stang (a2), Hans-Ulrich Wittchen (a3), Bedirhan Ustun (a4), Ellen E. Walters (a5) and Ronald C. Kessler (a5)...
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