July 1997

The Ondine Curse, False Suffocation Alarms, Trait-State Suffocation Fear, and Dyspnea-Suffocation Fear in Panic Attacks-Reply

Author Affiliations

University of British Columbia 2255 Wesbrook Mall Vancover, British Columbia Canada V6T 2A1

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1997;54(7):677-678. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1997.01830190105012

In Reply  The recent exchanges between Drs Ley and Klein1-3 have been useful in clarifying aspects of Klein's4 false suffocation alarm theory of panic; they also have stimulated testable extensions of the theory.2 The commentaries by Ley1,3 also raise the important question of whether alternative theories provide equally good or better accounts of panic attacks. Ley1,3 claimed that our findings5 not only support Klein's theory but also support Ley's6,7 dyspneic fear theory. The latter states that fear experienced during a hyperventilatory panic attack is a direct response to the sensation of severe dyspnea (ie, respiratory distress) in the context of a situation in which the sufferer believes that she has little or no control over the conditions that give rise to the dyspnea.6Our study was not designed to contrast the theories of Ley and Klein. We made no assumption about whether our suffocation

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