No study has investigated psychological dependence on antidepressants in patients with panic disorder, which was addressed in this study. This study was carried out in four psychiatric clinics in Tokyo, Japan. Individuals were eligible if they were outpatients aged 18 years or older and fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for panic disorder (ICD-10). Assessments included the Japanese Versions of the Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS), the Self-Report Version of Panic Disorder Severity Scale (PDSS-SR), and the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Self Report. Eighty-four individuals were included; of these, 30 patients (35.7%) showed psychological dependence on antidepressants (i.e. a total score of ≥5 in the SDS). A multiple regression analysis showed that PDSS scores and illness duration were correlated positively with SDS total scores. A binary regression model showed that absence of remission (i.e. a total score of ≥5 in the PDSS) and longer duration of illness increased the risk of dependence on antidepressants. Approximately one-third of the patients with panic disorder, receiving antidepressants, fulfilled the criteria for psychological dependence on these drugs. The results underscore the need for close monitoring, especially for those who present severe symptomatology or have a chronic course of the illness.
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