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Concept: Generalized anxiety disorder


There are relatively few existing studies examining neuropsychological functioning in social phobia (SP), which collectively yield mixed results. Interpretation of results is further complicated by a number of methodological inconsistencies across studies, including the examination of neuropsychological domains in relative isolation from one another. The present study utilized a broader collection of neuropsychological tests to assess nine domains of functioning in 25 individuals diagnosed with generalized SP and 25 nonpsychiatric controls (NC). A mixed ANOVA revealed neither a significant group by domain interaction, nor a significant main effect of group. Furthermore, no significant group differences emerged between the SP and NC groups within each specific neuropsychological domain. These findings suggest that underlying neuropsychological deficits are not likely to account for the information processing biases observed in the empirical literature, and appear to be consistent with current theoretical models which argue for the specificity of these biases to social information.

Concepts: Scientific method, Generalized anxiety disorder, Fear, Fight-or-flight response, Social anxiety disorder, Panic attack, Phobias, Specific social phobia


Cognitive theorists relate anxiety disorders to the way in which emotional information is processed. The existing research suggests that patients with anxiety disorders tend to allocate their attention toward threat-related information selectively, and this may differ among different types of anxious subjects. The aim of this study was to explore attentional bias in patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic disorder (PD) using the emotional Stroop task and compare the differences between them.

Concepts: Psychology, Anxiety disorder, Generalized anxiety disorder, Panic disorder, Alprazolam, Fear, Anxiety disorders, Social anxiety disorder


BACKGROUND: Religious participation or belief may predict better mental health but most research is American and measures of spirituality are often conflated with well-being. AIMS: To examine associations between a spiritual or religious understanding of life and psychiatric symptoms and diagnoses. METHOD: We analysed data collected from interviews with 7403 people who participated in the third National Psychiatric Morbidity Study in England. RESULTS: Of the participants 35% had a religious understanding of life, 19% were spiritual but not religious and 46% were neither religious nor spiritual. Religious people were similar to those who were neither religious nor spiritual with regard to the prevalence of mental disorders, except that the former were less likely to have ever used drugs (odds ratio (OR) = 0.73, 95% CI 0.60-0.88) or be a hazardous drinker (OR = 0.81, 95% CI 0.69-0.96). Spiritual people were more likely than those who were neither religious nor spiritual to have ever used (OR = 1.24, 95% CI 1.02-1.49) or be dependent on drugs (OR = 1.77, 95% CI 1.20-2.61), and to have abnormal eating attitudes (OR = 1.46, 95% CI 1.10-1.94), generalised anxiety disorder (OR = 1.50, 95% CI 1.09-2.06), any phobia (OR = 1.72, 95% CI 1.07-2.77) or any neurotic disorder (OR = 1.37, 95% CI 1.12-1.68). They were also more likely to be taking psychotropic medication (OR = 1.40, 95% CI 1.05-1.86). CONCLUSIONS: People who have a spiritual understanding of life in the absence of a religious framework are vulnerable to mental disorder.

Concepts: Mental health, Mental disorder, Abnormal psychology, Psychiatry, Generalized anxiety disorder, Psychiatric medication, Insomnia, Spirituality


Abstract Objective - Silexan is a lavender oil preparation in gelatine capsules containing 80 mg. We review clinical trials investigating the anxiolytic efficacy and tolerability of Silexan as well as its safety and potential for drug interactions. Methods - 7 trials were included. 4 therapeutic trials had a treatment duration of 6 or 10 weeks. Results - In patients with subsyndromal anxiety or generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) an anxiolytic effect of Silexan was evident after 2 weeks. Patients treated with Silexan showed Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA) total score decreases by between 10.4 ? 7.1 and 12.0 ? 7.2 points at Week 6 and between 11.8 ? 7.7 and 16.0 ? 8.3 points at Week 10. HAMA total score reductions between baseline and end of treatment were significantly superior to placebo in patients with subsyndromal anxiety and comparable to lorazepam in its starting dose in patients with GAD. Conclusions - Silexan had beneficial effects on typical co-morbidity symptoms of anxiety disorders, e. g., disturbed sleep, somatic complaints, or decreased quality of life. Except for mild gastrointestinal symptoms the drug was devoid of adverse effects and did not cause drug interactions or withdrawal symptoms at daily doses of 80 or 160 mg.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Generalized anxiety disorder, Panic disorder, Alprazolam, Anxiety disorders, Social anxiety disorder, Insomnia, Anxiolytic


PURPOSE: Pregabalin (PRG) is approved for the treatment of neuropathic pain, partial seizures and generalised anxiety disorder in many countries and currently under study for other indications. Supported by case reports and the results of a limited number of studies there is an ongoing debate on the potential of PRG to cause addictive behaviours. However, currently available evidence on this issue is sparse, and any definitive assessment of PRG’s potential for abuse and dependence is not yet in sight. The aim of our study was to identify the number of cases of PRG abuse or dependence reported to the database of a German medical regulatory body and to obtain insights into further usage-specific parameters. METHODS: We conducted a query of the entire database of the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) regarding reports of PRG abuse or dependence and analysed these cases on the basis of several parameters. RESULTS: A total of 55 reports of PRG abuse or dependence were identified (mean age 36 years, 64 % of reports involved males). The first reports were submitted to BfArM in 2008, and the reporting frequency has increased up to the present. Mean daily PRG dosage was 1424 mg. Current or previous polytoxicomania was present in 40 and 42 % of cases, respectively. Psychiatric diagnoses other than substance-related disorders were reported in 13 (24 %) cases. In about one-third of the patients withdrawal syndromes subsequent to discontinuation of PRG were reported. CONCLUSIONS: Cases of PRG abuse or dependence have been reported to the BfArM since 2008, with a marked increase of such reports in subsequent years. Male sex and a history of polytoxicomania may be possible risk factors for the development of addictive behaviours related to PRG.

Concepts: Drug addiction, Addiction, Antidepressant, Generalized anxiety disorder, Panic disorder, Physical dependence, Withdrawal, Pregabalin


To compare the efficacy of telephone-delivered cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia to an information pamphlet control on sleep and daytime functioning at pretreatment, posttreatment, and 12-wk follow-up.

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Clinical psychology, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Psychotherapy, Generalized anxiety disorder, Behaviour therapy, Zopiclone


Background: Negative affectivity (NA) has been linked to anxiety and depression (DEP). Identifying the common factors between anxiety and DEP is important when explaining their overlap and comorbidity. However, general factors such as NA tend to have differential relationships with different disorders, suggesting the need to identify mediators in order to explicate these relationships. Methods: The current study tests a theoretically and empirically derived hierarchical model of emotional disorders including both a general factor (NA) and transdiagnostic risk factors [anxiety sensitivity (AS) and intolerance of uncertainty (IoU)] using structural equation modeling. AS was tested as a mid-level factor between NA and panic disorder/agoraphobia, while IoU was tested as a mid-level factor between NA and social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and DEP. Data from 642 clinical outpatients with a heterogeneous presentation of emotional disorders were available for analysis. Results: The hierarchical model fits the data adequately. Moreover, while a simplified model removing AS and IoU fits the data well, it resulted in a significant loss of information for all latent disorder constructs. Limitations: Data were unavailable to estimate post-traumatic stress disorder or specific phobias. Future work will need to extend to other emotional disorders. Conclusions: This study demonstrates the importance of both general factors that link disorders together and semi-specific transdiagnostic factors partially explaining their heterogeneity. Including these mid-level factors in hierarchical models of psychopathology can help account for additional variance and help to clarify the relationship between disorder constructs and NA.

Concepts: Structure, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Abnormal psychology, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Generalized anxiety disorder, Panic disorder, Anxiety disorders, Social anxiety disorder


Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a chronic and disabling disorder which is characterized by worrisome mentation about future outcomes. Because the evocative stimuli in GAD are largely internally derived, the feared outcomes contained in worry episodes can be invoked - and responded to - regardless of external context. We hypothesized that individuals with GAD would be entrained to internally-regulated, fixed patterns of anxiety on a day-to-day basis and that successful therapeutic intervention would serve to mitigate this entrainment. Thus, the present study examined the constructs of flexibility and rigidity as they apply to the daily fluctuation of anxious symptoms in individuals with GAD. We aimed to demonstrate that an apparently variable system can be conceptualized as rigid when the variability maps onto stable and predictable periodic oscillations. Sixty-nine individuals completed cognitive-behavioral treatment for GAD. Average age was 36.62 years (SD = 11.56), and participants were mostly Caucasian (89.5%) and female (68.4%). Daily-diary data indicating level of anxiety on a 0 to 100-point scale and collected four times per day were subjected to spectral analysis in order to determine the spectral power attributable to daily oscillations - which was related to the degree of rigidity in daily anxiety. Diurnal rigidity decreased throughout therapy and the degree to which rigidity was reduced significantly predicted reliable change at post-treatment. Thus, symptom rigidity can be conceptualized as stable periodic fluctuation and is discernible from other metrics of volatility in repeated measures data. Moreover, diurnal rigidity is significantly reduced during treatment, facilitating flexible responding to environmental demands.

Concepts: Anxiety, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Generalized anxiety disorder, Panic disorder, Fear, Social anxiety disorder, Worry


During Flotation-REST a person is floating inside a quiet and dark tank, filled with heated salt saturated water. Deep relaxation and beneficial effects on e.g. stress, sleep difficulties, anxiety and depression have been documented in earlier research. Despite that treatments for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are effective; it is till the least successfully treated anxiety disorder, indicating that treatment protocols can be enhanced. The use of Flotation-REST as a treatment of GAD has not been researched. The aim of the present study was to conduct an initial evaluation of the effects in a self-diagnosed GAD sample.

Concepts: Anxiety, Generalized anxiety disorder, Panic disorder


Cannabidiol (CBD), a Cannabis sativa constituent, is a pharmacologically broad-spectrum drug that in recent years has drawn increasing interest as a treatment for a range of neuropsychiatric disorders. The purpose of the current review is to determine CBD’s potential as a treatment for anxiety-related disorders, by assessing evidence from preclinical, human experimental, clinical, and epidemiological studies. We found that existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder when administered acutely; however, few studies have investigated chronic CBD dosing. Likewise, evidence from human studies supports an anxiolytic role of CBD, but is currently limited to acute dosing, also with few studies in clinical populations. Overall, current evidence indicates CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders, with need for further study of chronic and therapeutic effects in relevant clinical populations.

Concepts: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Anxiety disorder, Generalized anxiety disorder, Panic disorder, Alprazolam, Anxiety disorders, Social anxiety disorder