Effects of age and alcoholism on the prevalence of panic disorder
Findings are reported evaluating the effects of aging and alcoholism histories on the 6-month prevalence rates of panic disorder. The data were collected in 5 communities as part of the Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) study: New Haven, CT; Baltimore, MD; St. Louis, MO; Durham, NC; and Los Angeles, CA. Reanalysis of ECA data provided additional support for a decline in the prevalence of panic disorder among elderly people. In addition, the presence of a history of alcohol abuse or dependence was associated with significantly elevated panic disorder rates in younger individuals, but an earlier decline in panic disorder prevalence with age, regardless of gender. These findings offer preliminary support for neurodevelopmental hypotheses for the onset and outgrowing of panic disorder. They also highlight the impact of alcoholism on the course of panic disorder.