Panic disorder in older adults: Evidences from the national epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions

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Objective: This study aims to investigate: (1) the association of panic disorder with childhood parental loss and recent stressful life events; (2) the co‐existence of panic disorder with major depressive disorder (MDD) as well as alcohol dependence; and (3) the impact of panic disorder on medical conditions, obesity, healthcare service utilization, and health‐related quality of life.
Methods: Data were drawn from The National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (2001–2002), which was a national representative survey of the non‐institutionalized US household population. We focused on 13 420 respondents who were aged 55 and above. Panic disorder was assessed using the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule—DSM‐IV version. Demographic characteristics, psychosocial risk factors, psychiatric disorders, health‐related quality of life, obesity, medical conditions, and healthcare service utilization were also measured.
Results: The current and lifetime prevalence rates of panic disorder were 1.17 and 3.72%, respectively. Multivariate analyses revealed that panic disorder was more common among lower income groups and those who had reported more recent stressful life events. In addition, MDD was significantly related to lifetime panic disorder. Panic disorder was also significantly related to a lower health‐related quality of life, two medical conditions, and the receipt of emergency room service.
Conclusion: The correlation between panic disorder and MDD raises further questions about the nature of panic disorder in the elderly. This study supports the notion that panic disorder has a strong impact on quality of life in old age. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)822-832
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


Panic Disorder
Major Depressive Disorder
Quality of Life
Surveys and Questionnaires
Delivery of Health Care
Nuclear Family
Hospital Emergency Service
Multivariate Analysis


Chou, K.-L. (2010). Panic disorder in older adults: Evidences from the national epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 25(8), 822-832. doi: 10.1002/gps.2424


  • Panic disorder
  • Depression
  • Risk factors
  • Comorbidity
  • Health services