Generalized anxiety disorder: A 40-year follow-up study
ABSTRACT There is insufficient knowledge of the long-term course of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). We studied the course of this disorder in patients who were followed up for 40 years.
Patients admitted with the diagnosis of anxiety states ('anxious thymopathy' ) to the Lopez Ibor Neuropsychiatric Research Institute between 1950 and 1961 were examined between 1984 and 1988 (n = 65). The retrospective diagnosis of GAD was made according to DSM-III-R criteria during 1984-1988 (first examination). A re-examination was performed by the same psychiatrist in the period 1997-2001 (n = 59; second examination).
At first and second examinations 20% and 17% of subjects were diagnosed as GAD. Improvement was observed in 83%. GAD tended to disappear around age 50, but was replaced by somatization disorders. Lack of regular treatment compliance, female sex, and onset of GAD before age 25 were variables associated with a worse outcome. Undifferentiated somatization disorder was the most prevalent clinical status at follow-up.
After several decades, participants improve with regard to GAD, although most continue to present somatizations.
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- "We measured symptomatic improvement and remission during the augmentation phase, and maintenance of improvement and relapse rate during the maintenance phase, using the Ham-A and the Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ (Meyer et al., 1990)). We examined two definitions of remission: Ham-A score of 8 or less, and PSWQ score of 40 or less, based on data from studies in geriatric GAD patients and normal older controls (Hamilton, 1959; Association, 2000; Diefenbach et al., 2001; Schoevers et al., 2003; Sinoff and Werner, 2003; Hollon et al., 2005; Schuurmans et al., 2006; Rubio and Lopez- Ibor, 2007). "
ABSTRACT: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a prevalent psychiatric condition in older adults with deleterious effects on health and cognition. Although selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications have some efficacy as acute treatments for geriatric GAD, incomplete response is the most common outcome of monotherapy. We therefore developed a novel sequential treatment strategy, using personalized, modular cognitive-behavioral therapy (mCBT) to augment SSRI medication. In an open label pilot study (N = 10), subjects received a sequenced trial of 12 weeks of escitalopram followed by 16 weeks of escitalopram augmented with mCBT. We also examined the maintenance effects of mCBT over a 28-week follow-up period following drug discontinuation and termination of psychotherapy. Results suggest that (1) adding mCBT to escitalopram significantly reduced anxiety symptoms and pathological worry, resulting in full remission for most patients and (2) some patients maintained response after all treatments were withdrawn. Findings suggest that mCBT may be an effective augmentation strategy when added to SSRI medication and provide limited support for the long-term benefit of mCBT after discontinuation of pharmacotherapy.International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 08/2011; 26(8):869-75. DOI:10.1002/gps.2619 · 3.09 Impact Factor
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- "The anxiety disorders tend to disappear in the fifth decade ( Bandelow 2003 ; Kessler et al . 2005a ; Rubio and Lopez - Ibor 2007a , b ) . Patients with anxiety disorders are frequent users of emergency medical services ( Klerman et al . "
ABSTRACT: In this report, which is an update of a guideline published in 2002 (Bandelow et al. 2002, World J Biol Psychiatry 3:171), recommendations for the pharmacological treatment of anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are presented. Since the publication of the first version of this guideline, a substantial number of new randomized controlled studies of anxiolytics have been published. In particular, more relapse prevention studies are now available that show sustained efficacy of anxiolytic drugs. The recommendations, developed by the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP) Task Force for the Pharmacological Treatment of Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive and Post-traumatic Stress Disorders, a consensus panel of 30 international experts, are now based on 510 published randomized, placebo- or comparator-controlled clinical studies (RCTs) and 130 open studies and case reports. First-line treatments for these disorders are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and the calcium channel modulator pregabalin. Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are equally effective for some disorders, but many are less well tolerated than the SSRIs/SNRIs. In treatment-resistant cases, benzodiazepines may be used when the patient does not have a history of substance abuse disorders. Potential treatment options for patients unresponsive to standard treatments are described in this overview. Although these guidelines focus on medications, non-pharmacological were also considered. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and other variants of behaviour therapy have been sufficiently investigated in controlled studies in patients with anxiety disorders, OCD, and PTSD to support them being recommended either alone or in combination with the above medicines.The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry 02/2008; 9(4):248-312. DOI:10.1080/15622970802465807 · 4.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is generally considered to be a chronic condition, waxing and waning in severity; however prospective investigation of the course of GAD in community samples is lacking. This study seeks to fill that gap, by identifying the whole spectrum of generalized anxiety syndromes, sub-typing them according to their duration and frequency of occurrence, and evaluating their long-term course and outcome in the community. The prospective Zurich Study assessed psychiatric and somatic syndromes in a community sample of young adults (N = 591) (aged 20 years at first interview) by six interviews over a period of 20 years (1979-1999). GAD syndromes were defined by DSM-III symptom criteria without applying any exclusion criteria. A spectrum of generalized anxiety was defined by duration: 6 months (DSM-IV), 1 month (DSM-III), < or = 2 weeks (with weekly occurrence over one year), and anxiety symptoms. From 1978 (screening) to 1999 the annual presence of symptoms and treatment was assessed. Persistence of anxiety was defined by the almost daily presence of symptoms over the previous 12 months. The annual incidence of DSM-III GAD increased considerably between the ages of 20 and 40. The average age of onset of symptoms was 15.6 years; in 75% of cases it occurred before the age of 20. 75 of 105 DSM-III GAD cases had at least one follow-up. At their individual last follow-up, 12 of those 75 subjects (16%) were re-diagnosed as having GAD, 22 (29%) manifested subthreshold syndromes or anxiety symptoms, while 39 cases, the majority, (52%) were symptom-free; 5 of the 12 re-diagnosed GAD cases were persistent (corresponding to 7% of all 75 initial GAD cases). In their twenties they were treated at some time in 6% of all years, but in their thirties this figure rose to 12%. At their individual last follow-up 26% of 6-month GAD subjects and 22% of 1-month GAD subjects were still being treated. Treated vs. non-treated subjects did not differ in terms of gender but did differ in severity, persistence and in comorbidity with bipolar-II disorder, social phobia, obsessive-compulsive syndromes and substance-use disorders. Results are based on a relatively small sample and cannot be generalized to adults aged over 40 years. The course of DSM-III-defined GAD may not be chronic, as previously suggested, but mainly recurrent with intervening symptom-free periods of recovery in about half of cases. Over a period of 20 years there was more improvement than progression within the anxiety spectrum.European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience 07/2008; 259(1):37-45. DOI:10.1007/s00406-008-0832-9 · 3.36 Impact Factor