Generalized Anxiety Disorder Literature Roundup

Review key information and findings from three recent studies focused on generalized anxiety disorder.

Journal: PLoS ONE (October 13, 2010)

Authors: Andrews G, Cuijpers P, Craske M, et al.

Purpose: To review evidence that computerized cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) “for the anxiety and depressive disorders is acceptable to patients and effective in the short and longer term.”

Results: For those with anxiety and depressive disorder who might otherwise go without treatment, computerized CBT, especially when administered via the Internet, is capable of providing effective, acceptable, and practical care.

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Electrocortical Evidence for Vigilance-avoidance in Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Journal: Psychophysiology (November 12, 2010)

Authors: Weinberg A, Hajcak G

Purpose: To examine “the time-course of neural activity during emotional processing” in patients with generalize anxiety disorder, as both “exaggerated and attenuated responses to emotional stimuli have been documented” in this population.

Results: After asking 21 people with generalized anxiety disorder and 25 healthy controls to passively view emotional and neutral images while their event-related potentials, the researches found an “enhanced P1 for unpleasant compared to neutral images” that was larger in patients with generalized anxiety disorder than in controls. Further, the increased late positive potential to unpleasant versus neutral images was diminished in the former group. The researchers concluded that their findings “provide evidence for early hypervigilance for emotional stimuli, followed by failure to engage in elaborative processing, in” generalized anxiety disorder.

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Specificity of Interpersonal Problems in Generalized Anxiety Disorder Versus Other Anxiety Disorders and Depression

Journal: Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease (November 2010)

Authors: Uhmann S, Beesdo-Baum K, Becker E, Hoyer J

Purpose: To examine “the diagnostic specificity of interpersonal problems (IP) in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD),” with the expectation of “generally higher interpersonal distress, and specifically higher levels of nonassertive, exploitable, overly nurturant, and intrusive behavior in n = 58 patients with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition GAD compared with patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (n = 46), other anxiety disorders (n = 47), and unipolar depressive disorders (n = 47).”

Results: In both patients with GAD alone and comorbid GAD, specificity in the sense of heightened interpersonal distress was not supported by any of the above scales, even after accounting for the degree of depressiveness using the Beck Depression Inventory. “GAD patients are rather not characterized by more self-ascribed IPs although they may worry more about interpersonal issues in general,” concluded the authors.

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