In this study we assessed the quality of life of patients with panic disorder, with particular attention to the influence of anxiety and depression comorbidity on quality of life. Findings were compared with established general population norms as well as norms for patients with chronic medical conditions and major depression. The Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) was administered to panic disorder patients entering clinical trials or treatment in an outpatient anxiety disorders program. Subjects were 73 consecutive patients with a primary diagnosis of panic disorder without current substance abuse or contributory medical illness. Their quality of life scores were compared with population mean estimates using single-sample t-tests, and the influence of comorbidity was examined with between-group comparisons. All SF-36 mental and physical health subscale scores were worse in patients with panic disorder than in the general population. This was true regardless of the presence of comorbid anxiety or mood disorders, although the presence of the comorbid conditions worsened select areas of functioning according to subscale analyses. SF-36 scores in panic patients were at approximately the same level as patients with major depression and tended to be worse in specific areas than patients with select medical conditions. This study provides evidence of the pervasive negative effects of panic disorder on both mental and physical health.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/philip_candilis/6/