Eight patients with panic disorder had significantly lower ACTH and
cortisol responses to corticotropin-releasing hormone and a significantly
lower ratio of ACTH to cortisol response than 30 normal control subjects.
These responses resemble those previously reported for depressed patients
except that they occurred in the face of significantly elevated basal
cortisol and ACTH levels. These results suggest that patients with panic
disorder have an element of chronic hypercortisolemia, like depressed
patients, but also a more acute perturbation in ACTH secretion, not
previously seen in depressed patients.