Panic disorder and suicidal behavior: A follow-up study of patients treated with cognitive therapy and SSRIs in Hungary
Zonda, T., Nagy, G., & Lester, D.
Background: Previous research has suggested that patients with panic disorder but no comorbid disorder are not at greater risk for suicidal behavior. Aims: The present study followed up patients with panic disorder in order to assess the frequency of their suicidal behavior. Methods: A sample of 281 outpatients with panic disorder, but without a comorbid psychiatric disorder, was followed up for an average of 5 years. The patients were given 6-8 weeks of cognitive therapy, and 65% were prescribed SSRIs. Results: At the time of first admission, 5 patients (1.7%) reported a previous (lifetime) suicide attempt, and 53 patients (18.2%) reported previous (lifetime) suicidal ideation (both thoughts and plans), not greatly different from the Hungarian population in general. During the follow-up period, no patient committed suicide, 2 patients attempted suicide (0.7%), and 4 patients (1.4%) reported suicidal ideation. Conclusions: This study indicates that people with panic disorders without comorbid disorders have no higher suicidal risk than the general population in Hungary. After treatment with cognitive therapy and SSRIs, 38.5% were symptom-free, and only 7.8% required continued close therapeutic contact after the follow-up period.