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Anxious Distress Common in Depressed Patients

Depress Anxiety; ePub 2018 Oct 12; Zimmerman, et al

Anxious distress is common in depressed patients, according to a recent study, which supports the validity of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM‐5) anxious distress specifier. 260 patients with a principal diagnosis of major depressive disorder were evaluated with semi-structured diagnostic interviews. The patients were rated on clinician rating scales of depression, anxiety and irritability, and completed self‐report measures. Researchers found:

  • Approximately 75% of the depressed patients met the criteria for the anxious distress specifier.
  • Patients with anxious distress had a higher frequency of anxiety disorders, particularly panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, as well as higher scores on measures of anxiety, depression, and anger.
  • The patients meeting the anxious distress subtype reported higher rates of drug use disorders, poorer functioning during the week before the evaluation, and poorer coping ability compared to the patients who did not meet the anxious distress specifier.
  • Moreover, anxious distress was associated with poorer functioning and coping after controlling for the presence of an anxiety disorder.

Zimmerman M, Martin J, McGonigal P, et al. Validity of the DSM‐5 anxious distress specifier for major depressive disorder. [Published online ahead of print October 12, 2018]. Depress Anxiety. doi:10.1002/da.22837.

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