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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2008 March;49(1):19-27


language: Italian

Anxiety disorders as a comorbidity in medicine: liaison psichiatry aspects

Gentile E., Zullo G., Sterpone S. C. M., Macario P. F., Lerda S., Munno D.

Sezione di Psichiatria Dipartimento di Neuroscienze Università di Torino, Torino


Aim. Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric disorders in General Hospital, both if they satisfy the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) criteria, and if they are subthreshold. The aim of this study was to evaluate clinical and therapeutic aspects of anxiety in General Hospital, distinguishing anxiety disorders and subthreshold anxiety disorders.
Methods. This research is based on psychiatric advices made by Clinical Psychological and Liaison Psychiatric Service on 388 inpatients during a 1 year period. The Authors analized anxiety disorders and subthreshold anxiety disorders frequencies and some variables like age, sex, associated medical conditions and somatizations. Moreover, they examined frequencies of different class of drug prescriptions. Data were then statistically analyzed.
Results. A higher prevalence of subthreshold anxiety disorders than anxiety disorders was found, alongside a higher presence of subthreshold anxiety disorders in cardiovascular diseases than in other medical conditions and a comorbidity with depressive disorders in 70% of patients with subthreshold anxiety disorders. Moreover in liaison psychiatry service the most utilized therapies are psycopharmacological therapies.
Conclusion. The high prevalence of subthreshold anxiety disorders suggests the importance of a timely diagnosis, particularly in cardiovascular diseases, to prevent evolution to seriously disorders. It could be useful to enhance the value of psychotherapy as a therapeutic approach both during the hospitalization and after discharge.

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