Introduction/Objective: The aim was to measure the lifetime prevalence of panic disorder (PD) in an Italian community sample, and to estimate the burden attributable to PD in compromising the quality of life (QoL) of people diagnosed with it. Methods: Community survey was conducted on a sample of 4,999 randomly selected adult subjects. Instruments used were semi-structured clinical interview Advanced Neuropsychiatric Tools and Assessment Schedule (ANTAS), administered by clinicians and allowing diagnosis according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (4th ed.; DSM-IV); Short Form Health Survey (SF-12). Results: The lifetime prevalence of PD was 3.6% (4.4% in females, 2.5% in males; p = .002). People with PD had a lower SF-12 score than the standardized community sample (35.5 ± 6.5 vs. 38.4 ± 5.9; p < .0001) with a mean difference (attributable burden) of 2.9 ± 0.7, that is, lower than PD with agoraphobia (AP; 4.2 ± 2.4). Wilson Disease (WD), Multiple Sclerosis, Major Depressive Disorder and Eating Disorders (ED) show a higher attributable burden in impaired QoL than PD, while the attributable burden of PD with AP is not lower than in ED and WD. Conclusions: The burden attributable to the impairment of QoL following a lifetime diagnosis of PD was found to be not so great compared to the impairment caused by Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) or neurological conditions. The comorbidity of PD with AP worsens QoL significantly.
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