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J Affect Disord. 2004 Mar;78(3):185-92.

Mood swings in patients with anxiety disorders compared with normal controls.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Saskatchewan, 103 Hospital Drive, Saskatoon, SK, Canada, S7N 0W8.



About 70-80% of patients with anxiety syndromes suffer from depression. Mood variability including hypomania, cyclothymia and hyperthymia have been described in 40-50% of patients with depression. There is an emerging literature that such variability could also characterize anxiety disorders. The aim of this study was to visually document and quantify mood variability in patients with anxiety disorders.


Twenty patients with anxiety disorders and 22 normal control subjects completed two visual analogue scales (VAS) on depressed mood and high mood, twice per day for 14 days. The Beck Depression Inventory and the Altman Self-Rating Mood Scale were used for concurrent validity.


On the VAS, patients showed higher levels of depressed and high moods, and greater mood variability than the controls. Variability of depressed and high moods was highly correlated.


This was a relatively small sample from a single center. Patients were selected by convenience and were under treatment. The control subjects were not interviewed.


Subsyndromal mood variability in patients with anxiety disorders can be visually depicted and quantified. The mood variability of patients with anxiety disorders who also complain of mood swings is greater than the mood fluctuations described by normal subjects.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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