Function, Not Just Symptoms, Key in Anxiety. (Large Longitudinal Study)

Article excerpt

RENO, NEV. -- Patients with chronic anxiety may seem stable symptomatically while suffering a decline in function, Benjamin F. Rodriguez, Ph.D., reported at the annual meeting of the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy

Even after-controlling for comorbid major depression and the total number of comorbid anxiety disorders, he and his associates determined that patients with chronic panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder had significantly more impairment in employment functioning, overall life satisfaction, and overall psychosocial functioning than less chronic patients.

Patients with chronic social phobia had significantly more impairment in employment functioning--but not life satisfaction or psychosocial functioning--than less chronic patients.

The 10-year study involving 711 patients with anxiety disorder failed to find similar functional declines in patients whose anxiety disorders were not chronic. The investigators defined chronicity as having symptoms continuously for a minimum of 5 years without a period of remission.

"The clinician needs to be aware of functional aspects as well as symptomatic aspects when dealing with chronic anxiety patients," Dr. Rodriguez said in an interview with this newspaper. Dr. Rodriguez is a postdoctoral research fellow at Brown University Providence, RI.

Even after controlling for comorbid major depression and the total number of comorbid anxiety disorders, the investigators determined that patients with chronic panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder had significantly more impairment in employment functioning, overall life satisfaction, and overall psychosocial functioning than did less chronic patients. …