Anxiety Mood.  2019 Oct;15(2):61-67. 10.24986/anxmod.2019.15.2.61.

From the Onset of Panic Symptoms to Getting to a Psychiatric Treatment : The Change by Improved Public Awareness of Panic Disorder in Korea

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, St. Vincent's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Suwon, Korea.
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital, College of Medicine, Soonchunhyang University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Samsung Medical Center, College of Medicine, Sungkyunkwan University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, Uijeongbu St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Uijeongbu, Korea.
  • 5Department of Psychiatry and Institute of Behavioral Science in Medicine, College of Medicine, Yonsei University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
  • 6Department of Psychiatry, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, College of Medicine, Sungkyunkwan University School of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
  • 7Department of Psychiatry, CHA Bundang Medical Center, School of Medicine, CHA University of Korea, Seongnam, Korea.
  • 8Department of Psychiatry, Chonbuk National University Medical School, Jeonju, Korea.
  • 9Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea.
  • 10Department of Psychiatry, Inje University Haeundae Paik Hospital, Busan, Korea.
  • 11Department of Psychiatry, Sanggye Paik Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 12Department of Psychiatry, Seoul St.Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.


This study aimed to investigate the general process from the symptom onset to the psychiatric treatment in Korean panic patients and the effect of improved public awareness on it.
This study has a retrospective design. The subjects were the new patients with panic disorder who visited the psychiatric outpatient clinic in twelve university-affiliated hospitals all across Korea. The medical chart was reviewed retrospectively and the data were collected including chief complaints of symptoms, recent stressors, the time to visit the psychiatric outpatient clinic, and visit of other departments and diagnostic approaches for their symptoms.
A total of 814 participants were included in the study. The most common department other than psychiatry the panic patients visited were cardiology (28.3%), general internal medicine (16.0%) and neurology (11.4%). The most frequently used diagnostic tests were a echocardiography (17.9%), 24-hour Holter monitoring (11.2%), and brain MRI (8.2%). Only 37.3% of participants visited psychiatric clinic directly. About 80% of participants visited psychiatric department within 1 year after their first panic symptoms and it took 13.8±13.7 weeks on average. Comparing before and after 2012, the number of participants increased who visit directly the psychiatric clinic without visiting other departments (p=0.002) and without visiting emergency room (p<0.001).
Our results suggest that a substantial number of patients visit departments other than psychiatry when they experience first panic symptoms. However, most patients begin psychiatric treatment within 1 year after their first symptoms and the number of patient are increasing who visit psychiatric department directly without visiting other departments.


Panic disorder; Public awareness; Psychiatric treatment; Korean patients
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