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Anxiety Associated With Comorbid Depression

Hans-Jürgen Möller, MD

Published: December 31, 2002

Article Abstract

Historically, the clinical term for mixed depression and anxiety was anxious depression. With thepublication of DSM-III-R, 2 categories were established for the purpose of classifying disorders thatinvolve both anxiety and depression, and that classification system is currently used in DSM-IV aswell. These more specific diagnostic criteria have given us a much better understanding of the anxietyspectrum, but have created a need for a better understanding of the place of benzodiazepines in clearlydefined indications on the anxiety spectrum. In spite of warnings about side effects, misuse, and dependence,benzodiazepines are frequently prescribed as adjunctive therapy to antidepressants for comorbidanxiety and depression. This article presents data on the prevalence, course, and outcome ofcomorbid anxiety and depression. It also compares efficacy data from trials of benzodiazepines usedalone and in combination with antidepressants for the treatment of anxiety disorders comorbid withdepression.

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