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Major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) often co-occur with somatic symptomatology. Little is known about the contributions of individual symptoms to this association and more insight into their relationships could help to identify symptoms that are central in the processes behind the co-occurrence. This study explores associations between individual MDD/GAD symptoms and somatic symptoms by using the network approach.
MDD/GAD symptoms were assessed in 2704 participants (mean age 41.7 years, 66.1% female) from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety using the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology. Somatic symptoms were assessed with the somatization scale of the Four-Dimensional Symptom Questionnaire. The technique eLasso was used to estimate the network of MDD/GAD and somatic symptoms.
The network structure showed numerous associations between MDD/GAD and somatic symptoms. In general, neurovegetative and cognitive/affective MDD/GAD symptoms showed a similar strength of connections to the somatic domain. However, associations varied substantially across individual symptoms. MDD/GAD symptoms with many and strong associations to the somatic domain included anxiety and fatigue, whereas hypersomnia and insomnia showed no connections to somatic symptoms. Among somatic symptoms, excessive perspiration and pressure/tight feeling in chest were associated with the MDD/GAD domain, while muscle pain and tingling in fingers showed only a few weak associations.
Individual symptoms show differential associations in the co-occurrence of MDD/GAD with somatic symptomatology. Strongly interconnected symptoms are important in furthering our understanding of the interaction between the symptom domains, and may be valuable targets for future research and treatment.
Much is still unclear about the role of personality in the structure of common psychiatric disorders such as depressive/anxiety disorders and alcohol dependence. This study will therefore examine whether various traits of negative emotionality and impulsivity showed shared or specific associations with these disorders.
Cross-sectional data were used from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA), including individuals with no DSM-IV psychiatric disorder (n = 460), depressive/anxiety disorder only (i.e. depressive and/or anxiety disorder; n = 1398), alcohol dependence only (n = 32) and co-morbid depressive/anxiety disorder plus alcohol dependence (n = 358). Aspects of negative emotionality were neuroticism, hopelessness, rumination, worry and anxiety sensitivity, whereas aspects of impulsivity included disinhibition, thrill/adventure seeking, experience seeking and boredom susceptibility.
Aspects of negative emotionality formed a homogeneous dimension, which was unrelated to the more heterogeneous construct of impulsivity. Although all aspects of negative emotionality were associated with alcohol dependence only, associations were much stronger for depressive/anxiety disorder only and co-morbid depressive/anxiety disorder with alcohol dependence. The results for impulsivity traits were less profound and more variable, with disinhibition and boredom susceptibility showing modest associations with both depressive/anxiety disorder and alcohol dependence, whereas low thrill/adventure seeking and high disinhibition were more strongly related with the first and the latter, respectively.
Our results suggest that depressive/anxiety disorder and alcohol dependence result from shared as well as specific aetiological pathways as they showed the same associations with all aspects of negative emotionality, disinhibition and boredom susceptibility as well as specific associations with thrill/adventure seeking and disinhibition.
Previous studies suggest that alcohol-use disorder severity, defined by the number of criteria met, provides a more informative phenotype than dichotomized DSM-IV diagnostic measures of alcohol use disorders. Therefore, this study examined whether alcohol-use disorder severity predicted first-incident depressive disorders, an association that has never been found for the presence or absence of an alcohol use disorder in the general population.
In a national sample of persons who had never experienced a major depressive disorder (MDD), dysthymia, manic or hypomanic episode (n=27 571), we examined whether a version of DSM-5 alcohol-use disorder severity (a count of three abuse and all seven dependence criteria) linearly predicted first-incident depressive disorders (MDD or dysthymia) after 3-year follow-up. Wald tests were used to assess whether more complicated models defined the relationship more accurately.
First-incidence of depressive disorders varied across alcohol-use disorder severity and was 4.20% in persons meeting no alcohol-use disorder criteria versus 44.47% in persons meeting all 10 criteria. Alcohol-use disorder severity significantly predicted first-incidence of depressive disorders in a linear fashion (odds ratio 1.14, 95% CI 1.06–1.22), even after adjustment for sociodemographics, smoking status and predisposing factors for depressive disorders, such as general vulnerability factors, psychiatric co-morbidity and subthreshold depressive disorders. This linear model explained the relationship just as well as more complicated models.
Alcohol-use disorder severity was a significant linear predictor of first-incident depressive disorders after 3-year follow-up and may be useful in identifying a high-risk group for depressive disorders that could be targeted by prevention strategies.
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