Panic disorder and somatization. Review of 55 cases

Am J Med. 1984 Jul;77(1):101-6. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(84)90443-1.


A retrospective study of 55 patients with panic disorder referred for psychiatric consultation by primary care physicians is presented. Eighty-nine percent of the patients initially presented with one or two somatic complaints, and misdiagnosis often continued for months or years. The three most common presentations were cardiac symptoms (chest pain, tachycardia, irregular heart beat), gastrointestinal symptoms (especially epigastric distress), and neurologic symptoms (headache, dizziness/vertigo, syncope, or paresthesias). Eighty-one percent of patients had a presenting pain complaint. Hypertension and peptic ulcer were the most common medical diagnoses, and depression and alcoholism the most frequently associated psychiatric diagnoses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / complications
  • Bipolar Disorder / complications
  • Fear / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Heart Diseases / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Panic / physiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis*