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September 2021

Anxiety disorders in major depression

Author(s): Rankin, M. A., Wright, E. C., Alpert, J. E., Nierenberg, A. A., Pava, J., Rosenbaum, J. F.

Journal/Book: Compr Psychiat. 2000; 41: Independence Square West Curtis Center, Ste 300, Philadelphia, PA 19106-3399, USA. W B Saunders Co. 97-102.

Abstract: The prevalence and clinical impact of anxiety disorder comorbidity in major depression were studied in 255 depressed adult outpatients consecutively enrolled in our Depression Research Program. Comorbid anxiety disorder diagnoses were present in 50.6% of these patients and included social phobia (27.0%), simple phobia (16.9%), panic disorder (14.5%), generalized anxiety disorder ([GAD] 10.6%), obsessive-compulsive disorder ([OCD] 6.3%), and agoraphobia (5.5%). While both social phobia and generalized anxiety preceded the first episode of major depression in 65% and 63% of cases, respectively, panic disorder (21.6%) and agoraphobia (14.3%) were much less likely to precede the first episode of major depression than to emerge subsequently. Although comorbid groups were not distinguished by depression, anxiety, hostility, or somatic symptom scores at the time of study presentation, patients with comorbid anxiety disorders tended to be younger during the index episode and to have an earlier onset of the major depressive disorder (MDD) than patients with major depression alone. Our results support the distinction between anxiety symptoms secondary to depression and anxiety disorders comorbid with major depression, and provide further evidence for different temporal relationships with major depression among the several comorbid anxiety disorders.

Note: Article Fava M, Massachusetts Gen Hosp, Clin Psychopharmacol Unit ACC 815, Depress Res Program, Boston,MA 02114 USA


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