Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Anxiety spreads across various psychiatric labels

"Comorbid anxiety symptoms are ubiquitous among psychiatric patients with mood or schizophrenia spectrum disorders, and in almost half of them, reportedly severe."

So said the findings reported by Karpov and colleagues [1] who sought to put some further research flesh on to the bones of the idea that clinically relevant anxiety symptoms might not be unstrange bedfellows with a variety of other psychiatric labels.

Based on the analysis of various patient groups included in the "Helsinki University Psychiatric Consortium Study" for the presence of anxiety symptoms (as measured by the Overall Anxiety Severity and Impairment Scale (OASIS)) researchers reported that approaching half of their cohort variously diagnosed with "schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (SSA, n=113), bipolar disorder (BD, n=99), or depressive disorder (DD, n=188)" reported as 'severe or extreme' their anxiety. Drilling down further into their data, authors concluded that said anxiety symptoms correlated with "high neuroticism, symptoms of depression and borderline personality disorder and low self-efficacy in all patients, and with early trauma in patients with mood disorders."

Accepting that it is not necessarily new news that clinically relevant psychiatric signs and symptoms might extend beyond the handy diagnostic boxes that we currently use as part of our labelling system, I'd like to think there is another important feature of this 'interconnectedness'. The idea for example, that 'tackling' seemingly secondary issues such as anxiety might impact on more primary diagnosis is something that I'm keen to see extended in the research literature. There are various example of this being suggested/done with regards to other labels (see here for example) and indeed, how from a quality of life aspect, dealing with the very obvious disruption that chronic anxiety would bring, might be a target over and above intervention for other, more primary diagnoses...

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[1] Karpov B. et al. Anxiety symptoms in a major mood and schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Eur Psychiatry. 2016 Jul 19;37:1-7.

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ResearchBlogging.org Karpov, B., Joffe, G., Aaltonen, K., Suvisaari, J., Baryshnikov, I., Näätänen, P., Koivisto, M., Melartin, T., Oksanen, J., Suominen, K., Heikkinen, M., Paunio, T., & Isometsä, E. (2016). Anxiety symptoms in a major mood and schizophrenia spectrum disorders European Psychiatry, 37, 1-7 DOI: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2016.04.007