Objectives. Impulsivity is a key feature of several psychiatric disorders. However, the relationship between impulsivity and anxiety disorders is controversial and not well explored. The aim of this study was to compare impulsivity in healthy control and drug-naïve panic disorder patients before and after 8 weeks of therapeutic intervention.
Materials and methods. We examined 21 healthy volunteers and 15 psychotropic drug-naïve outpatients with panic disorder without agoraphobia before and after 8 weeks of treatment with escitalopram or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). The severity of Panic Disorder was assessed based on the Panic and Agoraphobia Scale (PAS), CGI (Clinical Global Impression Scale), HADS (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale). Impulsivity was evaluated based on the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale, 11th version (BIS-11).
Results. The clinically significant improvement was observed with PAS, CGI and HADS-A in both treatment groups after the therapeutic intervention. That improvement was similar in both groups and both methods had equal efficacy in PD treatment. No statistically significant change in the score of total impulsivity before and after treatment was found regardless of the treatment applied (i.e. escitalopram or CBT).
Conclusions. Future research should be performed to examine the impact of impulsivity on panic disorders outcome. Higher impulsivity seems to be an independent and persistent trait in patients with panic disorder not linked with PD severity.