The present study examined current and lifetime psychiatric morbidity, chest pain, and health care utilization in 229 patients with noncardiac chest pain (NCCP), angina-like pain in the absence of cardiac etiology. Diagnostic interview findings based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.; DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) revealed a psychiatrically heterogeneous sample of whom 44% had a current Axis I psychiatric disorder. A total of 41% were diagnosed with a current anxiety disorder, and 13% were diagnosed with a mood disorder. Overall, 75% of patients had an Axis I clinical or subclinical disorder. Lifetime diagnoses of anxiety (55%) and mood disorders (44%) were also prevalent, including major depressive disorder (41%), social phobia (25%), and panic disorder (22%). Patients with an Axis I disorder reported more frequent and more painful chest pain compared with those without an Axis I disorder. Presence of an Axis I disorder was associated with increased life interference and health care utilization. Findings reveal that varied DSM-IV Axis I psychiatric disorders are prevalent among patients with NCCP, and this psychiatric morbidity is associated with a less favorable NCCP presentation. Implications for early identification of psychiatric disorders are discussed.
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