Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Undiagnosed Anxiety Worsens Major Depression

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Undiagnosed Anxiety Worsens Major Depression

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS -- Patients with major depressive disorders should be screened for comorbid anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, posttraumatic stress disorder, and general anxiety disorder, Dr. Naomi M. Simon said at the annual conference of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America.

"Anxiety disorder comorbidity is common and often begins prior to depression, often at an early age," said Dr. Simon, associate director of the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

"The presence of anxiety results in longer depressive episodes, a more chronic course of major depressive disorder, worse psychosocial impairment, reduced chance of recovery from the initial episode of major depressive disorder, and an increased risk of suicide," Dr. Simon said. Screening and intervention for panic attacks and flashbacks were recommended in 2003 after a published study showed greater disability in depressed patients with these comorbid conditions (Prim. Care Companion J. Clin. Psychiatry 2003;5:104-10).

In addition, the prevalence of unipolar or bipolar mood disorder comorbid with lifetime generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is thought to approach 70% and 17% respectively, according to Dr. Simon, whose own research suggests that patients with bipolar disorder have significantly higher rates of GAD and panic disorder, compared with those with major depression (J. Psychiatr. Res. 2003;37:187-92). …

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