Panic Attacks in Generalized Anxiety Disorder
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Panic attacks have been reported by patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in response to catastrophic worry. This has not been characterized in the literature. We examined the prevalence of GAD panic attacks in an anxiety disorders clinic sample. Charts of 254 patients with DSM-IV GAD were retrospectively evaluated. The presence and type of panic attacks were examined as well as correlates including comorbidity, baseline symptom severity, demographic variables, and family history. Twenty-one percent had GAD panic attacks, 21.7% had situationally predisposed attacks, 15.6% had situationally bound attacks, and 39.4% had unexpected panic attacks. The individuals who had GAD panic attacks had higher scores on the Anxiety Sensitivity Index compared with those who also had other types of panic attacks. One in five patients with GAD reported GAD panic attacks; however, these individuals did not differ significantly on the correlates that were evaluated. These findings require replication and further evaluation.
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