Panic disorder (PD) is a common anxiety disorder with severe social and health consequences in the lives of individuals who suffer from it. General population studies that attempt to measure the prevalence of this disorder across the world suggest that a 1.7% to 4.7 % of adults and adolescents suffer from Panic Disorder. In Greece, research analyzing the abovementioned matters is limited, and previous studies were put forward in small samples. The aim of the present study was to describe the prevalence and sociodemographic associations of panic disorder (PD) and related subthreshold panic symptoms in the general population of Greece and to appraise the comorbidity, use of services and impact on quality of life of these syndromes. This was a secondary analysis of the 2009–2010 psychiatric morbidity survey carried out in a representative sample of the Greek general population (4894 participants living in private households, 18–70 years, response rate 54%). Psychiatric disorders were assessed with the computerized version of the revised Clinical Interview Schedule (CIS-R). Quality of life was assessed with the EuroQoL EQ-5D generic instrument. The utilization of health services was examined by making relevant questions. Finally, direct questions were used to assess sociodemographic and socioeconomic factors According to our findings, 1.87% of the participants (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.50–2.26%) met criteria for PD and 1.61% met criteria for subclinical PD (95% CI: 1.26–1.96%). There was a clear female preponderance for both PD (p=0.001) and Sub-PD (p=0.01). In addition, 3.48% of the participants reported having experienced panic attacks during the past week (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.98–4.01%). PD or subclinical PD was independently associated with a limited number of sociodemographic and socioeconomic variables especially after the adjusted analysis. Both panic related conditions involved significant reductions in quality of life and elevated utilization of health services for both medical and psychological reasons in comparison to healthy participants. In conclusion, PD and subclinical panic symptoms were common in the general Greek population with substantial comorbidity and impaired quality of life. The observed use of the general and psychological health services among adults with panic symptoms and its temporal and economic consequences calls for more efficient diagnostic and treatment policies.

Key words: Epidemiology, panic disorder, adults, comorbidity, quality of life, Greece.

S. Politis, St. Bellos, M. Hadjulis, R. Gournellis, P. Petrikis, D. Ploumpidis, P. Skapinakis (page 201)

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