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Comorbid anxiety disorders are frequently encountered in psychoses and mainly assessed during the hospitalization.
Comorbidity was investigated in 98 patients with schizophrenia, schizoaffective, or bipolar disorder, previously hospitalized for psychotic symptoms. Assessments, including Structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, and Clinical Global Impressions Scale, were performed during hospitalization (t0) and subsequently in a phase of remission (t1). Comorbidity was assessed at t1 only.
One or more comorbid anxiety diagnoses were made in 46 (46.9%) patients. Of these, 15 (32.6%) received multiple anxiety diagnoses, while 31 (67.4%) single anxiety diagnoses. Schizophrenic patients had a rate of social anxiety disorder (SAD) higher (P<.05) than the others. Patients assessed with panic disorder or with obsessive-compulsive disorder at t1 showed significantly greater severity of illness at t0; patients with SAD demonstrated greater severity at t1. No significant differences in the rates of individual anxiety disorders were found in patients treated with typical or atypical antipsychotics or with both.
Anxiety disorders, particularly obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and SAD, seem to be frequently comorbid in remitted psychotic patients; SAD would be more prevalent in schizophrenia and might negatively impact the course of the illness.
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