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There is mixed evidence on increasing rates of psychiatric disorders and symptoms during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020. We evaluated pandemic-related psychopathology and psychiatry diagnoses and their determinants in the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Health (ELSA-Brasil) São Paulo Research Center.
Between pre-pandemic ELSA-Brasil assessments in 2008–2010 (wave-1), 2012–2014 (wave-2), 2016–2018 (wave-3) and three pandemic assessments in 2020 (COVID-19 waves in May–July, July–September, and October–December), rates of common psychiatric symptoms, and depressive, anxiety, and common mental disorders (CMDs) were compared using the Clinical Interview Scheduled-Revised (CIS-R) and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21). Multivariable generalized linear models, adjusted by age, gender, educational level, and ethnicity identified variables associated with an elevated risk for mental disorders.
In 2117 participants (mean age 62.3 years, 58.2% females), rates of CMDs and depressive disorders did not significantly change over time, oscillating from 23.5% to 21.1%, and 3.3% to 2.8%, respectively; whereas rate of anxiety disorders significantly decreased (2008–2010: 13.8%; 2016–2018: 9.8%; 2020: 8%). There was a decrease along three wave-COVID assessments for depression [β = −0.37, 99.5% confidence interval (CI) −0.50 to −0.23], anxiety (β = −0.37, 99.5% CI −0.48 to −0.26), and stress (β = −0.48, 99.5% CI −0.64 to −0.33) symptoms (all ps < 0.001). Younger age, female sex, lower educational level, non-white ethnicity, and previous psychiatric disorders were associated with increased odds for psychiatric disorders, whereas self-evaluated good health and good quality of relationships with decreased risk.
No consistent evidence of pandemic-related worsening psychopathology in our cohort was found. Indeed, psychiatric symptoms slightly decreased along 2020. Risk factors representing socioeconomic disadvantages were associated with increased odds of psychiatric disorders.
Both psychodynamic group therapy (PGT) and clonazepam are used as treatment strategies in reducing symptoms of generalized social anxiety disorder (GSAD). However, many individuals remain symptomatic after treatment with PGT or clonazepam.
Fifty-eight adult outpatients with a diagnosis of GSAD according to DSM-IV were randomized to 12 weeks PGT plus clonazepam or clonazepam. The Clinical Global Impression-Improvement (CGI-I) Scale was the primary efficacy measure. Secondary efficacy measures included the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS) total score, the World Health Organization Instrument to Assess Quality of Life—Brief (WHOQOL-Bref) Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).
CGI-I data from 57 patients (intent-to-treat population) showed that patients who received PGT plus clonazepam presented significantly greater improvement than those who received clonazepam (P = 0.033). There were no significant differences between the two groups in the secondary efficacy measures.
Our study suggests that the combination of PGT with clonazepam may be a promising strategy for the treatment of GSAD, regarding gains in the global functioning. However the present study failed to detect more specific changes in social anxiety symptomatology between the two groups.
As panic disorder (PD) has a chronic course, it is important to identify predictors that might be related to non-remission. The aim of this study is to verify whether history of trauma and defense style are predictors to pharmacological treatment response in PD patients.
The sample was composed by 47 PD patients according to DSM-IV who were treated with sertraline for 16 weeks. Evaluations were assessed by the C.G.I. (Clinical Global Impression), the Hamilton-Anxiety Scale, the Hamilton-Depression Scale, the Panic Inventory and the DSQ-40 (Defense Style Questionnaire) at baseline and after treatment.
Full remission was observed in 61.7% of the sample. The predictors significantly associated with non-remission were: severity of PD (p = 0.012), age of onset (p = 0.02) and immature defenses (p = 0.032). In addition, the history of trauma was associated with early onset of PD (p = 0.043).
Panic patients had as predictors of worse response to pharmacological treatment the early onset and the severity of PD symptoms as well as the use of immature defenses at baseline. This finding corroborates the relevance of the evaluation of factors that might affect the response so as to enable the development of appropriate treatment for each patient.
Previous work showed traumatic life events (TLE) with intention to harm, like bullying and abuse, to be more strongly associated with psychotic experiences (PE) than other types of trauma, like accidents. However, this association is subject to reporting bias and can be confounded by demographic characteristics and by differences in dose of exposure across different trauma categories. We studied the association between TLE with and without intention to harm and PE, taking into account potential confounders and biases.
A total of 2245 children and adolescents aged 6–14 years were interviewed by psychologists. The interview included the presence of 20 PE (both self-report and psychologist evaluation). In addition, parents provided information on child exposure to trauma, mental health and PE.
Results showed no significant association between TLE without intention to harm only and PE for the three methods of assessment of PE (self-report, parent report and psychologist rating). On the other hand, there was a positive association between PE and TLE in groups exposed to traumatic experiences with intention to harm (with intention to harm only and with and without intention to harm). Results remained significant after controlling for demographic and clinical confounders, but this positive association was no longer significant after adjusting for the number of TLE.
TLE with intention to harm display a stronger association with PE than TLE without intention to harm, and this difference is likely reducible to a greater level of traumatic exposure associated with TLE with intention to harm.
Como el trastorno de angustia (TA) tiene un curso cronico, es importante identificar predictores que puedan estar relacionados con la ausencia de remisión. El propósito de este estudio es verificar si los antecedentes de trauma y el estilo de defensa son predictores de la respuesta al tratamiento farmacológico en los pacientes con TA.
La muestra se componía de 47 pacientes con TA según el DSM-IV que recibieron tratamiento con sertralina durante 16 semanas. Las valoraciones se realizaron por la Impresión Clínica Global (CGI), la Escala de Ansiedad de Hamilton, la Escala de Depresión de Hamilton, el Inventario de Angustia y el Cuestionario de Estilo de Defensa (DSQ-40) en la línea de base y después del tratamiento.
Se observó remisión completa en 61,7% de la muestra. Los predictores asociados significativamente con la ausencia de remisión eran: gravedad del TA (p = 0,012), edad de comienzo (p = 0,02) e inmadurez de las defensas (p = 0,032). Además, los antecedentes de trauma se asociaban con el comienzo temprano del TA (p = 0,043).
Los pacientes con trastorno de angustia tenían como predictores de peor respuesta al tratamiento farmacólogico el comienzo temprano y la gravedad de los síntomas del TA, así como el uso de defensas inmaduras en la línea de base. Este hallazgo corrobora la importancia de la evaluación de los factores que podrían afectar a la respuesta para permitir el desarrollo de un tratamiento apropiado para cada paciente.
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