Generalized anxiety disorder: is there any specific symptom?

Carlo Faravelli, Giovanni Castellini, Laura Benni, Andrea Brugnera, Monica Landi, Carolina Lo Sauro, Francesco Pietrini, Francesco Rotella, Valdo Ricca
2012 Comprehensive Psychiatry  
Objective: The main aim of the present research was to evaluate the coherence of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) psychopathological pattern, the robustness of its diagnostic criteria, and the clinical utility of considering this disorder as a discrete condition rather than assigning it a dimensional value. Method: The study was designed in a purely naturalistic setting and carried out using a community sample; data from the Sesto Fiorentino Study were reanalyzed. Results: Of the 105 subjects
more » ... who satisfied the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria for the diagnosis of GAD, only 18 (17.1%) had no other comorbid DSM-IV disorder. The most frequent comorbid condition was major depressive disorder (70.4 %). Only 2 of the GAD diagnostic symptoms (excessive worry and muscle tension) showed a specific association with the diagnosis itself, whereas the others, such as feeling wound up, tense, or restless, concentration problems, and fatigue, were found to be more prevalent in major depressive disorder than in GAD. Conclusion: Our study demonstrates that GAD, as defined by DSM-IV criteria, shows a substantial overlap with other DSM-IV diagnoses (especially with mood disorders) in the general population. Furthermore, GAD symptoms are frequent in all other disorders included in the mood/anxiety spectrum. Finally, none of the GAD symptoms, apart from muscle tension, distinguished GAD from patients without GAD.
doi:10.1016/j.comppsych.2012.04.002 pmid:22578985 fatcat:frxjnkduwbcvrhtwzctivxku6q