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Psychiatry Res. 2009 Aug 30;169(1):7-11. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2008.10.036. Epub 2009 Jul 12.

Do comorbid anxiety disorders impact treatment planning for outpatients with major depressive disorder?

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Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Division of Postgraduate Education, 1 Bowdoin Square, 7th floor, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Research indicates that depressed patients with comorbid anxiety disorders have a poorer long-term course of illness, are less responsive to treatment, and may experience greater deficits in psychosocial functioning, when compared with depressed patients without comorbid anxiety disorders. The objective of this study was to examine, through use of a large, well-characterized clinical database, how clinicians may modify treatment recommendations in depressed outpatients when anxiety disorders are present. A group of 346 case records, derived from the Methods to Improve Diagnostic Assessment and Services (MIDAS) project at Rhode Island Hospital, were examined to determine what treatment recommendations were made immediately after diagnosis. Psychopharmacological and psychotherapeutic treatments were classified to capture differences in recommendations between groups. Demographic and clinical characteristics were compared for patients with (n=248) and without (n=98) comorbid anxiety disorders. Utilizing logistic regression models, we found patients with anxiety disorders had a greater number of psychopharmacological therapies included as part of their initial treatment plan, but no differences were found in initial psychotherapeutic interventions. Our results indicate that practitioners are making unique recommendations based on comorbid anxiety diagnoses, but outcome studies are now needed to determine the most effective treatment methods for this patient population.

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