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Epidemiological, clinical, and treatment response characteristics of major depression with anxious distress (ADS) are quite similar to those of mixed depression, but no study investigated the symptom interplay of these conditions.
To analyze the correlations among symptom criteria for major depression with ADS and for mixed depression using a network analysis.
Two hundred and forty-one outpatients with major depression were consecutively recruited. DSM-5 criteria for major depression with ADS or with mixed features (MF) and Koukopoulos’ criteria for mixed depression (MXD) were assessed using a structured clinical interview.
A total of 58.9% of patients met DSM-5 criteria for major depression with ADS, 48.5% for MXD, and 2.5% for major depression with MF, so that the symptoms of this specifier were excluded from the network analysis. The most frequent symptoms were difficulty concentrating due to worries (57.7%), feeling keyed up or on edge (51%) (major depression with ADS), and psychic agitation or inner tension (51%) (MXD). Psychic agitation or inner tension had a central position in the network and bridged MXD to major depression with ADS through feeling keyed up or on edge.
Criteria for major depression with ADS and for MXD are partially overlapping, with psychic agitation or inner tension and feeling keyed up or on edge that feature in both conditions and are difficult to distinguish in clinical practice. The clarification of the relationship between these two psychopathological conditions could bring important implications for diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of depressive episodes.
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