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Psychopharmacol Bull. 1991;27(3):275-9.

Anger attacks in depressed outpatients and their response to fluoxetine.

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Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.


"Anger attacks" are spells of anger that are inappropriate to the situation and have physical features resembling panic attacks. The Anger Attacks Questionnaire, designed to assess these attacks, was administered to 79 consecutive patients (25 men and 54 women, mean age 38.8 +/- 10.3 years) diagnosed as having major depression with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R. Of these 79 depressed patients, 34 (13 men and 21 women) reported having anger attacks according to our criteria. The prevalence of anger attacks in a group of 31 younger depressed patients (48%) was significantly higher (p = .048) than that of 29 normal controls (21%) of similar age. Of the 79 depressed patients, 19 (7 men, 12 women) were treated openly with fluoxetine at 20 mg/day for at least 8 weeks. At pretreatment, 9 patients (47%) had reported anger attacks, only 3 (16%) continued to report them after treatment, and the difference was statistically significant (p less than .05).

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