The author reports the results of five studies of panic disorder
undertaken as part of the Epidemiologic Catchment Area Program of the
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). This program involves community
samples in New Haven, Conn. (N = 5,034), Baltimore (N = 3,481), St. Louis
(N = 3,004), Durham, N.C. (N = 3,921), and Los Angeles (N = 3,132).
Diagnoses were based on the NIMH Diagnostic Interview Schedule and DSM-III.
Panic disorder led the list of disorders for which subjects in the five
studies received ambulatory mental health services. Treatment rates for
panic disorder were as high as or higher than those for somatization
disorder, schizophrenia, and major affective disorders. Furthermore, panic
attacks may have been the reason that many subjects with other disorders