Panic Attacks Linked to Fear of Bright Light

A new European study suggests that panic attacks may be associated with an aversion to bright light. Researchers from the University of Siena in Italy compared 24 patients with panic disorder against 33 healthy controls. Using a standard Photosensitivity Assessment Questionnaire (PAQ), they found that healthy controls showed a slight (not statistically significant) tendency to be photophilic — that is, to be attracted to bright light. In contrast, the patients with panic disorder showed medium to high levels of aversion to bright light. Although the finding does not imply a cause-and-effect relationship, the discovery of an association may lead to development of new therapies for panic disorder.

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