Orthostatic panic attacks among Vietnamese refugees

Devon E. Hinton, W Ladson Hinton, Minh Tran, Men Nguyen, Lim Nguyen, Curtis Hsia, Mark H. Pollack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Viewed historically and cross-culturally, orthostatic-induced dizziness, i.e., dizziness caused by standing up from a sitting or a lying position, forms a key aspect of many syndromes: irritable heart (American Civil War), effort syndrome (World War I and World War II), chronic fatigue syndrome (contemporary USA), Gulf War syndrome (contemporary USA), and orthostatic dysregulation (contemporary Japan). Among Vietnamese refugees attending a psychiatric clinic, this study documents a high rate of orthostatic panic (OP), as well as certain processes seemingly generating these panic attacks, viz., flashbacks and culturally specific catastrophic cognitions. Case examples are used to demonstrate OP's phenomenology and relevance to clinical care. To illustrate the mechanisms producing OP, we adduce the multiplex model of panic generation. Culturally appropriate care of Vietnamese refugees should include assessment and treatment of OP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-544
Number of pages30
JournalTranscultural Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Cross-cultural psychiatry
  • Orthostatic hypotension
  • Panic attacks
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Vietnamese refugees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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