Objective. To investigate the relationship between subtypes of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and severity of symptoms associated with panic disorder (PD). Material and methods. The study comprised 178 consecutive new PD outpatients. Sixty-four patients met the Rome-II criteria for IBS (IBS[+]; 29 diarrhea-predominant IBS (IBSD), 14 constipation-predominant IBS (IBSC), 21 other types of IBS). Results. IBSD patients with agoraphobia avoided a greater number of scenes owing to fear of panic attack than did PD patients without IBS (IBS) and with agoraphobia. IBS[+] patients with avoidant behavior due to fear of IBS symptoms had significantly higher Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scores and avoided a larger number of scenes owing to fear of panic attack than IBS[+] patients with agoraphobia and without avoidant behavior due to fear of IBS symptoms or IBS patients with agoraphobia. Conclusions. The results suggest that the presence of IBSD or avoidant behavior because of fear of IBS symptoms may be associated with a more severe form of agoraphobia, and the latter may also be associated with depression.
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