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Prevalence of Comorbid Anxiety Disorders in Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders: A Literature Review

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Objective: We conducted a comprehensive review of the English language literature on the comorbidity of anxiety symptoms/disorders in schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSDs) in order to determine: their prevalence rates in clinical and non-clinical populations, the temporal relationship of anxiety comorbidity to SSDs, and the effect of comorbidity on outcome.

Method: Medline and PsychInfo databases were searched, from 1966 to September 2004 and 1887 to September 2004 respectively.

Results: Overall lifetime prevalence rates for any anxiety disorder ranged from 30% to 85% with most studies showing rates higher than in the general population. In more than 50% of patients, the anxiety disorder preceded the onset of psychosis. Patients with comorbid panic symptoms were more frequent service users, had additional comorbidities and were more likely to be suicidal. Comorbid obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS) tended to be associated with poorer social functioning, worse cognitive impairment and motor symptoms.

Conclusions: There is a clear link between SSDs and anxiety disorders though its nature remains unclear. This has important implications for psychiatric nosology, aetiology and treatment.
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Keywords: Schizophrenia; anxiety; comorbidity; psychotic disorders

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Mental Health Research Institute and University of Melbourne, 155 Oak Street, Parkville 3052, Victoria,Australia.

Publication date: 2006-08-01

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  • Current Psychiatry Reviews publishes frontier reviews on all the latest advances on clinical psychiatry and its related areas e.g. pharmacology, epidemiology, clinical care, and therapy. The journal's aim is to publish the highest quality review articles dedicated to clinical research in the field. The journal is essential reading for all clinicians, psychiatrists and researchers in psychiatry.
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