Factors associated with persons with panic attacks seeking medical care

Fam Med. Nov-Dec 1990;22(6):462-6.


There is increasing evidence that panic disorder is a major health problem in the United States. Yet, it is believed that many panic disorder patients do not enter the health care system, and those who do rarely offer a mental health complaint. This study was conducted to determine factors important in the decision of patients with panic disorder to seek health care, where they go for care, and their complaints to physicians. Overall, 44% of patients did not enter the health care system with complaints of either nervousness or panic attacks. Certain factors were found to be important to the patient's decision to seek care and where to go for care, including being white, having panic-related symptoms, educational level, and feeling free to discuss panic. Gender, marital status, age, phobic avoidance, limited-symptom attacks, and fear during panic were not important factors in the decision to seek health care. Through a better understanding of the important factors, health care givers can be more sensitive to the diagnosis of panic disorder in patients who do seek care and look for ways of reaching those who do not.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Educational Status
  • Emergency Medical Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Ohio / epidemiology
  • Panic*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires