Psychological features of subjects with idiopathic environmental intolerance
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OBJECTIVES: Idiopathic environmental intolerance (IEI) is associated with unexplained symptoms attributed to non-noxious levels of environmental substances. Clinically, some of the symptoms of IEI overlap with those of panic disorder (PD). We have recently reported a link between IEI and panic responses to a single inhalation of 35% carbon dioxide (CO(2)), a reliable panic induction challenge. This study assessed depression, stress, anxiety, and agoraphobic symptoms among IEI subjects from our previous study versus healthy controls. METHODS: Thirty-six IEI and 37 control subjects with no preexisting psychiatric history were compared on self-report psychological questionnaires. RESULTS: IEI subjects scored significantly higher than controls on the Agoraphobic Cognitions Questionnaire (ACQ), Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS), and Mobility Inventory for Agoraphobia (MI) (Student's t, P<.05). CONCLUSIONS: IEI subjects represent a group with morbidity significantly higher than a control population but less than what would be expected for a clinical psychiatric population.
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