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Semin Clin Neuropsychiatry. 1999 Apr;4(2):84-97.

Anxiety in patients with pulmonary disease: comorbidity and treatment.

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Departments of Psychiatry and Pulmonary Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Anxiety is a common and sometimes disabling symptom among patients with respiratory disease. Anxiety disorders appear to be the most prevalent psychiatric disorders in clinical samples of patients with pulmonary disease. Recognition that the differential diagnosis of dyspnea and anxiety includes both pulmonary and psychiatric conditions can be crucial to appropriate medical management and minimizing iatrogenic harm. This article reviews the epidemiology, comorbidity, diagnosis, and treatment of anxiety syndromes in patients with pulmonary disease. Successful treatment of anxiety disorders can substantially improve quality of life and a variety of treatment options are available. Safe and effective pharmacotherapy requires attention to potential adverse drug effects on pulmonary function and drug-to-drug interactions. Nonpharmacological treatments such as cognitive/behavioral therapies offer effective treatment without the risk of medication side effects.

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