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J Nerv Ment Dis. 2012 Jul;200(7):603-6. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31825bfb2e.

Anniversary reactions in medical patients.

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  • 1Psychosomatic Unit, IRCCS De Bellis Hospital, Castellana Grotte, Bari, Italy. porcellip@media.it


The aim of this study was to explore the prevalence and characteristics of anniversary reactions (somatic symptoms occurring at the anniversary of specific events) in a large sample of 1498 medical patients from different medical settings who underwent the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID) and the Structured Interview for Diagnostic Criteria for Psychosomatic Research (DCPR), which provide definition of anniversary reactions. In 54 (3.6%) of the 1498 patients for whom anniversary reaction was identified, 61.1% had a concurrent DSM-IV diagnosis. Other syndromes related to somatization, abnormal illness behavior, irritable mood, demoralization, and alexithymia were present in 9 of 10 cases. Symptoms of the conversion syndrome were found in 6 (0.4%) patients with the SCID and in 67 (4.5%) patients with the DCPR, 20% of whom also had anniversary reaction. The results should alert physicians to enquire about the timing of symptoms in relation to meaningful personal events.

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