What is the prognosis of panic disorder?

Updated: Mar 21, 2018
  • Author: Mohammed A Memon, MD; Chief Editor: Randon S Welton, MD  more...
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Answer

Panic disorder is a chronic disorder with a variable course. Appropriate pharmacologic therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), individually or in combination, are effective in more than 85% of cases. Patients with good premorbid functioning and a brief duration of symptoms tend to have a good prognosis. [68] About 10-20% of patients continue to have significant symptoms. [68]

Overall, the long-term prognosis is usually good, with almost 65% of patients with panic disorder achieving remission, typically within 6 months. [29] However, as discussed under History, trigger factors can lead to panic attacks— several of these triggers are associated with poor outcome, including severe illness at the time of the initial assessment, high interpersonal sensitivity, low social class, separation from a parent by death during early life, divorce, and unmarried status. [62]

The risk of coronary artery disease in patients with panic disorder is nearly doubled. In patients with coronary disease, panic can induce myocardial ischemia. [24] The risk of sudden death may also theoretically be increased due to reduced heart rate variability and increased QT interval variability. [25]

The suicide rate in individuals with panic disorder is also many times higher than the general population. [2]


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