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Comparative Study
. 2010 Aug;14(6):764-8.
doi: 10.1080/13607861003713240.

Medical Conditions and Depressive, Anxiety, and Somatic Symptoms in Older Adults With and Without Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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Comparative Study

Medical Conditions and Depressive, Anxiety, and Somatic Symptoms in Older Adults With and Without Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Julie Loebach Wetherell et al. Aging Ment Health. .
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Abstract

Objective: The objective of this study was to examine medical illness and anxiety, depressive, and somatic symptoms in older medical patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

Method: A case-control study was designed and conducted in the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Geriatrics Clinics. A total of fifty-four older medical patients with GAD and 54 matched controls participated.

Measurements: The measurements used for this study include: Brief Symptom Inventory-18, Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview, and the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule.

Results: Older medical patients with GAD reported higher levels of somatic symptoms, anxiety, and depression than other older adults, as well as higher rates of diabetes and gastrointestinal conditions. In a multivariate model that included somatic symptoms, medical conditions, and depressive and anxiety symptoms, anxiety symptoms were the only significant predictors of GAD.

Conclusion: These results suggest first, that older medical patients with GAD do not primarily express distress as somatic symptoms; second, that anxiety symptoms in geriatric patients should not be discounted as a byproduct of medical illness or depression; and third, that older adults with diabetes and gastrointestinal conditions may benefit from screening for anxiety.

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