BACKGROUND A long-term outcome study of DSM-III-R panic disorder included the Present State Examination (PSE) at baseline and follow up five to six years later.
METHOD PSE test-retest and individual within-patient change scores on various PSE syndromes were assessed for consistency with either a categorical view of panic disorder as a stable clinical entity or panic disorder as one facet only of a "general neurotic syndrome'.
RESULTS PSE profile at baseline was virtually identical with that at follow up. Few patients had changed in PSE syndrome diagnosis after five to six years.
CONCLUSION These data, although not conclusive, are supportive of the concept of DSM-III-R panic disorder as a stable clinical entity and are correspondingly difficult to reconcile with the view that panic disorder is but one facet only of a general neurotic syndrome.