Pregabalin, an anticonvulsant and anxiolytic compound that binds to α2-δ auxiliary subunit Types 1 and 2 of voltage-gated calcium channels, has been shown to reduce excitatory neurotransmission partially through modulation of glutamatergic signaling. Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of startle is an operational measure of sensorimotor gating impacted by disruption of the glutamatergic system and is reduced in schizophrenia patients. Dysregulation of the glutamatergic system has also been implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Here we tested the hypothesis that pregabalin may ameliorate PPI in a model of deficient gating in humans and mice. In study 1, 14 healthy human subjects participated in a within subjects, cross-over study with placebo, 50 mg or 200 mg pregabalin treatment prior to undergoing a PPI task. In study 2, 24 C57BL/6 mice underwent a similar procedure with vehicle, 30 and 100 mg/kg dose treatments. In both studies, subjects were assigned to a “Low” or “High” gating group using a median split procedure based on their PPI performance during placebo/vehicle. Drug effects were then examined across these groups. In humans, pregabalin treatment significantly increased PPI performance in the “low gating” group. In mice, pregabalin treatment significantly increased PPI in the low gating group but reduced PPI in the high gating group. Across species, pregabalin treatment improves PPI in subjects with low gating. These data support further exploration of pregabalin as a potential treatment for disorders characterized by sensorimotor gating deficits and glutamatergic hypersignaling, such as schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia; Pre-pulse inhibition; Glutamate; Pregabalin; Startle; Sensorimotor gating
This study examined the longitudinal association between a prior history of sexual
assault (SA), typically in youth, and decreasing executive functioning (EF) in old age
and whether the apolipoprotein (APOE) ϵ4 allele modifies this relationship.
In this longitudinal study, 846 community-dwelling older adults at baseline completed
questions about SA history and two tests of EF. Over the 10 years following this
baseline visit, participants completed up to 3 follow-up cognitive assessments.
Mixed-effects models first examined the longitudinal association between SA and EF
performance. Last, preplanned analyses examined whether the APOE ϵ4 allele modified
A single SA exposure was not associated with EF declines. Repeated SA exposure was
associated with steeper declines in both EF measures. For Trails B, there was a
significant interaction between any SA exposure and the APOE ϵ4 allele, such that
having either repeated or isolated SA as well as APOE ϵ4 was associated with faster
SA exposure earlier in life may increase risk for declines in EF 50–60 years
later in old age, particularly in the context of the APOE ϵ4 allele. These results
generally support a diathesis-stress model of decreased cognitive reserve.
Aging; APOE; Executive functioning; Trauma
Adolescence is a time of increasing risk for some anxiety disorders. Scant data exist on adolescent anxiety in emergency department (ED) settings. We sought to characterize select clinical characteristics and healthcare utilization associated with anxiety disorders in a pediatric ED.
We screened a convenience sample of 100 adolescent-parent dyads presenting to the ED for the presence of child anxiety disorders using the 5-item Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders, parent (SCARED-P) and child (SCARED-C) versions. Additional demographic and clinical data were also collected.
SCARED-P and SCARED-C screens identified probable anxiety disorder(s) in 26% to 33% of adolescent participants, respectively. Correlates of positive SCARED-C screens were female gender, asthma, presenting complaint involving headache or migraine, and school absenteeism due to physical problems. Correlates of positive SCARED-P screens were lower parental educational level, presenting complaint involving headache or migraine, and more medical specialty and total medical visits. Few anxious adolescents had received mental health services in the past six months. In multivariate models, female gender was independently associated with SCARED-C total score, and presenting complaint involving headache or migraine was independently associated with SCARED-P total score.
The current pilot data suggest anxiety disorders are more prevalent among adolescent ED patients than in the general population, but largely untreated. Several demographic and clinical variables may help to identify occult anxiety disorders. Greater awareness of anxiety disorders in this population may assist in redirecting a pattern of low use of mental health services but higher overall healthcare utilization.
anxiety disorders; pediatric psychology; emergency medicine; mental health services
Improving the quality of mental health care requires integrating successful research interventions into “real-world” practice settings. Coordinated Anxiety Learning and Management (CALM) is a treatment-delivery model for anxiety disorders encountered in primary care. CALM offers cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication, or both; non-expert care managers assisting primary care clinicians with adherence promotion and medication optimization; computer-assisted CBT delivery; and outcome monitoring. This study describes incremental benefits, costs, and net benefits of CALM versus usual care.
The CALM randomized, controlled effectiveness trial was conducted in 17 primary care clinics in 4 US cities from 2006 to 2009. Of 1,062 eligible patients, 1,004 English- or Spanish-speaking patients age 18–75 years with panic, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, and/or posttraumatic stress disorder with or without major depression were randomized. Anxiety-free days, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), and expenditures for outpatient visits, emergency room visits, inpatient stays, and psychiatric medications were estimated based on blinded telephone assessments at baseline, 6, 12, and 18 months.
Over 18 months, CALM participants, on average, experienced 57.1 more anxiety-free days [95% confidence interval (CI) 31–83] and $245 additional medical expenses (95% CI $ −733 to $1,223). The mean incremental net benefit of CALM versus usual care was positive when an anxiety-free day was valued ≥ $4. For QALYs based on the Short-Form Health Survey-12 and the EQ-5D the mean incremental net benefit was positive at ≥ $5,000.
Compared with usual care, CALM provides significant benefits with modest increases in health care expenditures.
Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD) has a high level of symptom overlap and comorbidity with Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder (GSAD). We examined whether the presence of comorbid AvPD adds significant clinically relevant information for individuals seeking treatment for GSAD. Results suggested that AvPD was significantly associated with poorer quality of life and greater disability in univariate, but not multivariate analyses. Endorsement of more AvPD symptoms was associated with increased disability, increased risk of intimacy, and lower social support, even after covariate adjustment. Specifically, AvPD item 3, hard to be “open” even with people you are close to, was most strongly correlated with quality of life and disability. A binary diagnosis of AvPD alone adds little beyond a marker of greater GSAD severity and depression among patients with GSAD, while a specific feature of AvPD not captured by the GSAD diagnosis, namely emotional guardedness, may be associated with greater impairment.
Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder (GSAD); Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD); Severity Continuum Hypothesis; Major Depressive Disorder (MMD); Social Phobia; Anxiety
The objective of this study was to evaluate two abbreviated versions of the PTSD Checklist (PCL), a self-report measure of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, as an index of change related to treatment.
Data for this study were from 181 primary care patients diagnosed with PTSD who enrolled in a large randomized trial. These individuals received a collaborative care intervention (CBT and/or medication) or usual care and were followed 6 and 12 months later to assess their symptoms and functioning. The sensitivity of the PCL versions (i.e., full, 2-item, 6-item), correlations between the PCL versions and other measures, and use of each as indicators of reliable and clinically significant change were evaluated.
All versions had high sensitivity (.92-.99). Correlations among the three versions were high, but the 6-item version corresponded more closely to the full version. Both shortened versions were adequate indicators of reliable and clinically significant change.
Whereas prior research has shown the 2-item or 6-item versions of the PCL to be good PTSD screening instruments for primary care settings, the 6-item version appears to be the better alternative for tracking treatment-related change.
PTSD; assessment; primary care
Large racial disparities in the utilization of mental health care persist. Differences in treatment preferences could partially explain the differences in care between minority and non-minority populations. We compared beliefs about mental illness and treatment preferences among adult African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and whites, with diagnosed anxiety disorders. Measures of beliefs about mental illness and treatment were drawn from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication and from our previous work. There were no significant differences between African-Americans’ and whites’ beliefs. Hispanics’ and Native Americans’ beliefs were most distinctive, but the differences were small in magnitude. Across race/ethnicity, the associations between beliefs and service use were generally weak and statistically insignificant. Differences in illness beliefs and treatment preferences do not fully explain the large, persistent racial disparities in mental health care. Other crucial barriers to quality care exist in our health care system and our society as a whole.
CALM study; race; beliefs; mental illness; help-seeking; primary care
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a prevalent anxiety disorder that results in multiple disabling symptoms. Research into the underlying neurobiology has implicated dysregulation in multiple neurotransmitter systems including norepinephrine, serotonin, and glutamate as well as the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Understanding how these biological systems interact with each other and how they may affect key neural structures, such as the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex, to produce post-traumatic symptoms is critical for the development of effective pharmacological treatments. We briefly discuss the proposed biological dysfunctions underlying PTSD and how agents that target these dysfunctions may be utilized in PTSD. We then provide a review of the different pharmacological agents that have been investigated in PTSD. These drugs include: antidepressants, anti-adrenergic agents, anticonvulsants, benzodiazepines, atypical antipsychotics, and novel agents.
Emotional resilience can be defined as the ability to maintain healthy and stable levels of psychological functioning in the wake of stress and trauma. Although genes that contribute to psychopathology (often in interaction with environmental stressors) are being detected with increasing consistency, genes that influence resilience to stress have been less studied. In this study, 423 undergraduate college students completed a psychometrically sound 10-item self-report measure of resilience (CDRISC-10) and provided blood for DNA. Linear and logistic regression analyses were used to model relationships between the serotonin transporter promoter polymorphism (5HTTLPR) and CDRISC-10 scores and categories, respectively. CDRISC–10 scores were normally distributed (mean 26.17 SD 5.88 [range 5 – 40]). In models adjusting for ancestry proportion scores (to mitigate confounding by population stratification) and other covariates, each copy of the “s” allele of 5HTTLPR was associated with ~1-point lower CDRISC-10 score. Each copy of the “s” allele was associated with increased (adjusted OR = 1.53, 95% CI 1.06-2.21, p = 0.024) odds of being in the low resilient category (> 1 SD below the mean), compared to being homozygous for the “l” allele. These findings suggest that variation in 5HTTLPR is associated with individual differences in emotional resilience, defined as an individual's ability to withstand and bounce back from stress. This relationship may explain the frequently observed interaction between 5HTTLPR and life stressors in predicting adverse mental health outcomes (e.g., depressive symptoms). Replication is needed, in concert with identification of other genes that influence emotional resilience and related phenotypes.
emotional resilience; stress; depression; 5HTTLPR; serotonin; gene
Animal approach-avoidance conflict paradigms have been used extensively to characterize effects of anxiolytic agents and probe neural circuitry related to anxiety. However, there are few behavioral approaches to measure conflict in human populations, limiting the translation of findings from animal conflict tasks to human clinical research. We developed a novel approach-avoidance conflict (AAC) paradigm involving situations in which the same decision is associated with “reward” (points) and “punishment” (negative affective stimuli). The AAC task was completed by 95 young adults (56 female) with varying levels of self-reported trait anxiety. As expected, conflict-related approach behavior correlated with self-reported motivation to approach reward and avoid punishment and greater reward level increased approach behavior. Additionally, females exhibited less approach behavior than males. Anxiety Sensitivity Index (Physical subscale) scores related negatively to approach behavior for males, while Behavioral Activation Scale (BAS, Fun Seeking subscale) scores related positively to approach behavior for females. Results support the utility of the AAC task as a behavioral test that has strong reverse translational features. Findings indicate that approach drives and anxiety sensitivity may be important in determining conflict behavior for females and males respectively. The approach-avoidance conflict task offers a novel, translational measure to probe neural systems underlying conflict behavior, motivational processes, and anxiety disorders.
Conflict; Reward; Anxiety; Avoidance; Decision making; Translational research
Prior neuroimaging studies support the hypothesis that anticipation, an important component of anxiety, may be mediated by activation within the insular and medial prefrontal cortices including the anterior cingulate cortex. However, there is an insufficient understanding of how affective anticipation differs across anxiety groups in emotional brain loci and networks. We examined 14 anxiety positive (AP) and 14 anxiety normative (AN) individuals completing an affective picture anticipation task during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Brain activation was examined across groups for cued anticipation (to aversive or pleasant stimuli). Both groups showed greater activation in the bilateral anterior insula during cued differential anticipation (i.e., aversive vs. pleasant) and activation on the right was significantly higher in AP compared to AN subjects. Functional connectivity showed that the left anterior insula was involved in a similar network during pleasant anticipation in both groups. The left anterior insula during aversive and the right anterior insula during all anticipation conditions co-activated with a cortical network consisting of frontal and parietal lobes in the AP group to a greater degree. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that anxiety is related to greater anticipatory reactivity in the brain and that there may be functional asymmetries in the brain that interact with psychiatric traits.
Most patients with anxiety disorders receive their care from primary care practitioners (PCPs). The purpose of this study was to evaluate quality of and patient satisfaction with primary healthcare for anxiety disorders.
Survey of 1004 outpatients with anxiety disorders referred by their PCP for participation in a therapeutic trial. Quality indicators (referring to the 6 months prior to referral) were self-reported type, dose and duration of anti-anxiety medication and psychotherapy with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) elements.
576 patients (57.4%) had received appropriate anti-anxiety medication in the previous 6 months, but only 292 (29.1% of patients) at adequate dose and duration. 465 patients (46.3%) had received some counseling, but only 213 (21.2%) with a CBT focus. Overall, 416 patients (41.4%) had received quality pharmacotherapy and/or psychotherapy. Few patients (44.8%) were at least somewhat satisfied with their mental health care. Receipt of quality psychotherapy was the sole positive predictor (adjusted odds ratio = 2.71, 95% CI [1.94–3.80], p < 0.0005) of satisfaction with mental healthcare for anxiety. Moreover, there was a dose-response relationship between the number of CBT elements consistently delivered and satisfaction with care; test for trend, z = 4.06, p < 0.0005.
Despite being recognized and referred by their PCP to an anxiety treatment study, fewer than half of patients had in the 6 months prior received quality pharmacological and/or psychosocial mental healthcare. Receipt of CBT-oriented, quality psychosocial (but not pharmacological) care showed a strong dose-response relationship with satisfaction with mental health care.
Anxiety Disorder; Primary Care; Treatment
This paper describes the training model used with primary care staff to deliver an evidence-based computer-assisted cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) program for anxiety disorders within a collaborative care treatment delivery model.
We describe the training and proficiency evaluation procedures utilized in the CALM study, a large multi-site study of collaborative care for anxiety disorders in primary care. Training incorporated readings, didactic presentations, video demonstrations of CBT skills, role-plays, computer-assisted practice, CBT training cases, and ongoing group supervision provided by study psychologists.
Proficiency training case data from 15 clinicians are presented. The anxiety clinical specialists (ACS) were highly proficient at delivering the CBT component of the CALM intervention. ACS also provided Likert-scale ratings and open-ended responses about their experiences with the training. Overall, the training was rated very positively, and was described as very thorough, indicating a high level of acceptability to clinicians. Recommendations for future training are described.
Primary care staff with none or minimal prior CBT experience can be trained to deliver a computer-assisted, evidence-based treatment for anxiety disorders. The implications for dissemination and transportability of evidenced-based interventions are discussed.
Primary Care; Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT); anxiety disorders; training
The Overall Anxiety Severity and Impairment Scale (OASIS) is a 5-item self-report measure that can be used to assess severity and impairment associated with any anxiety disorder or multiple anxiety disorders. A prior investigation with a nonclinical sample supported the reliability and validity of the OASIS; however, to date it has not been validated for use in clinical samples.
The present study assessed the psychometric properties of the OASIS in a large sample (N = 1,036) of primary care patients whose physicians referred them to an anxiety disorders treatment study. Latent structure, internal consistency, convergent/discriminant validity, and cut-score analyses were conducted.
Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses supported a unidimensional structure. The five OASIS items displayed strong loadings on the single factor and had a high degree of internal consistency. OASIS scores demonstrated robust correlations with global and disorder-specific measures of anxiety, and weak correlations with measures of unrelated constructs. A cut-score of 8 correctly classified 87% of this sample as having an anxiety diagnosis or not.
Convergent validity measures consisted solely of other self-report measures of anxiety. Future studies should evaluate the convergence of OASIS scores with clinician-rated and behavioral measures of anxiety severity.
Overall, this investigation suggests that the OASIS is a valid instrument for measurement of anxiety severity and impairment in clinical samples. Its brevity and applicability to a wide range of anxiety disorders enhance its utility as a screening and assessment tool.
anxiety; self-report; assessment; validity; factor analysis
Pregabalin (PGB) has shown potential as an anxiolytic for treatment of generalized and social anxiety disorder. PGB binds to voltage-dependent calcium channels, leading to upregulation of GABA inhibitory activity and reduction in the release of various neurotransmitters. Previous functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies indicate that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and benzodiazepines attenuate amygdala, insula, and medial prefrontal cortex activation during anticipation and emotional processing in healthy controls. The aim of this study was to examine whether acute PGB administration would attenuate activation in these regions during emotional anticipation. In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized crossover study, 16 healthy controls completed a paradigm involving anticipation of negative and positive affective images during fMRI approximately 1 h after administration of placebo, 50, or 200 mg PGB. Linear mixed model analysis revealed that PGB was associated with (1) decreases in left amygdala and anterior insula activation and (2) increases in anterior cingulate (ACC) activation, during anticipation of positive and negative stimuli. There was also a region of the anterior amygdala in which PGB dose was associated with increased activation during anticipation of negative and decreased activation during anticipation of positive stimuli. Attenuation of amygdala and insula activation during anticipatory or emotional processing may represent a common regional brain mechanism for anxiolytics across drug classes. PGB induced increases in ACC activation could be a unique effect related to top–down modulation of affective processing. These results provide further support for the viability of using pharmaco-fMRI to determine the anxiolytic potential of pharmacologic agents.
pregabalin; neuroimaging; insula; amygdala; anticipation; psychopharmacology; neuropharmacology; psychopharmacology; mood/anxiety/stress disorders; imaging; clinical or preclinical; pregabalin; anxiety; insula; prefrontal cortex; amygdala
Selective mutism (SM), considered an early-onset variant of social anxiety disorder (SAD), shares features of impaired social interaction and communication with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) that suggest a possible shared pathophysiology. We examined the association of a susceptibility gene, contactin-associated protein-like 2 (CNTNAP2), for ASDs and specific language impairment (SLI) with SM and social anxiety-related traits.
Sample 1 subjects were 99 nuclear families including 106 children with SM. Sample 2 subjects were young adults who completed measures of social interactional anxiety (SIAS; N = 1028) and childhood behavioral inhibition (RSRI; N = 920). Five SNPs in CNTNAP2 (including rs7794745 and rs2710102, previously associated with ASDs) were genotyped.
FBAT analyses revealed nominal significance (p = 0.018) for association of SM with rs2710102 which, with rs6944808, was part of a common haplotype associated with SM (permutation p = 0.022). Adjusting for sex and ancestral proportion, each copy of the rs2710102*a risk allele in the young adults was associated with increased odds of being >1SD above the mean on the SIAS (OR = 1.33, p = 0.015) and RSRI (OR = 1.40, p = 0.010).
Although association was found with rs2710102, the risk allele (“a”) for the traits studied here is the non-risk allele for ASD and SLI (“g”). These findings suggest a partially shared etiology between ASDs and SM, but raise additional questions about specific aspects of these syndromes (i.e., language impairment and/or social anxiety) potentially influenced by CNTNAP2 and mechanism(s) by which these influences may be conveyed.
genetics; anxiety disorders; speech; childhood; autism; autism spectrum; social anxiety; behavioral inhibition
Previous studies have documented links between peptic ulcer disease (PUD) and mood and anxiety disorders among adults in the community. Several substance use disorders (e.g., nicotine and alcohol dependence) are highly comorbid with mood/anxiety disorders, and have been also linked with PUD. No previous study has examined the potentially explanatory role of substance use disorders in the link between mood and anxiety disorders and PUD.
The objective of the study is to examine relationships between a range of mental disorders and PUD among adults in the United States, and to examine the potentially explanatory role of substance use disorders in these links.
Data were drawn from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), a nationally representative sample of US adults 18 years of age and over (n=43,098). DSM-IV diagnoses of mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders were assessed using the AUDADIS-IV, and PUD status was assessed via self-report.
Findings show that mood/anxiety disorders were associated with PUD. Specifically, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) (OR=3.43) was most strongly associated with PUD, followed by panic disorder (OR=3.11), dysthymia (OR=3.59), and bipolar disorder (OR=2.91). The relationships between most mood/anxiety disorders and PUD were substantially attenuated after adjusting for nicotine and alcohol dependence.
Mood/anxiety disorders are associated with increased rates of PUD; nicotine and alcohol dependence appears to play a substantial role in explaining the link with peptic ulcer disease.
Peptic ulcer; nicotine; alcohol; mental disorders; mood disorders; anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders commonly present in primary care where evidence-based mental health treatments often are unavailable or suboptimally delivered.
Compare evidence-based treatment for anxiety disorders to usual care in primary care, for principal and comorbid generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder (PD), social anxiety disorder (SAD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We hypothesized superiority of CALM for principal anxiety disorders and comorbid disorders.
A randomized, controlled trial comparing CALM intervention with Usual Care, at baseline, 6-month, 12-month and 18-month follow-ups.
17 primary care clinics in the United States.
Referred primary care sample, 1004 patients, with principal DSM-IV diagnoses of GAD (n=549), PD (n=262), SAD (n=132), or PTSD (n=61), mean 43.7 years (SD=13.7), 70.9% female,. 80% completed 18-month follow-up.
CALM (computer-guided CBT and/or pharmacotherapy recommendations) and Usual Care.
Main Outcome Measures
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Severity Scale, Panic Disorder Severity-Self Report scale, Social Phobia Inventory, and PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version.
CALM was superior to Usual Care for principal GAD at 6-month (−1.61; 95% CI = −2.42 to −.79), 12-month (−2.34; 95% CI = −3.22 to −1.45) and 18-month (−2.37; 95% CI = −3.24 to −1.50), PD at 6-month (−2.00; 95% CI = −3.55 to −0.44) and 12-month (−2.71; 95% CI = −4.29 to −1.14), and SAD at 6-month (−7.05; 95% CI = −12.11 to −2.00) outcomes. CALM was superior to Usual Care for comorbid SAD at 6-month (−4.26; 95% CI = −7.96 to −0.56), 12-month (−8.12, 95% CI = −11.84 to −4.40) and 18- month (−6.23, 95% CI = −9.90 to −2.55) outcomes. Effect sizes favored CALM, but were not statistically significant for other comorbid disorders.
CALM (CBT and psychotropic recommendations) is more effective than Usual Care for principal anxiety disorders, and to a lesser extent, comorbid anxiety disorders that present in primary care.
Investigators recently tested the effectiveness of a collaborative-care intervention for anxiety disorders: Coordinated Anxiety Learning and Management(CALM) ) in 17 primary care clinics around the United States. Investigators also conducted a qualitative process evaluation. Key research questions were as follows: (1) What were the facilitators/barriers to implementing CALM? (2) What were the facilitators/barriers to sustaining CALM after the study was completed?
Key informant interviews were conducted with 47 clinic staff members (18 primary care providers, 13 nurses, 8 clinic administrators, and 8 clinic staff) and 14 study-trained anxiety clinical specialists (ACSs) who coordinated the collaborative care and provided cognitive behavioral therapy. The interviews were semistructured and conducted by phone. Data were content analyzed with line-by-line analyses leading to the development and refinement of themes.
Similar themes emerged across stakeholders. Important facilitators to implementation included the perception of "low burden" to implement, provider satisfaction with the intervention, and frequent provider interaction with ACSs. Barriers to implementation included variable provider interest in mental health, high rates of part-time providers in clinics, and high social stressors of lower socioeconomic-status patients interfering with adherence. Key sustainability facilitators were if a clinic had already incorporated collaborative care for another disorder and presence of onsite mental health staff. The main barrier to sustainability was funding for the ACS.
The CALM intervention was relatively easy to incorporate during the effectiveness trial, and satisfaction was generally high. Numerous implementation and sustainability barriers could limit the reach and impact of widespread adoption. Findings should be interpreted with the knowledge that the ACSs in this study were provided and trained by the study. Future research should explore uptake of CALM and similar interventions without the aid of an effectiveness trial.
Brief measures of anxiety related severity and impairment that can be used across anxiety disorders and with subsyndromal anxiety are lacking. The Overall Anxiety Severity and Impairment Scale (OASIS) have shown strong psychometric properties with college students and primary care patients. This study examines sensitivity, specificity, and efficiency of an abbreviated version of the OASIS that takes only 2–3 minutes to complete using a non-clinical (college student) sample. 48 participants completed the OASIS and SCID for anxiety disorders, 21 had a diagnosis of ≥1 anxiety disorder, and 4 additional participants had a subthreshold diagnosis. A cut-score of 8 best discriminated those with anxiety disorders from those without, successfully classifying 78% of the sample with 69% sensitivity and 74% specificity. Results from a larger sample (n=171) showed a single factor structure and excellent convergent and divergent validity. The availability of cut-scores for a non-clinical sample furthers the utility of this measure for settings where screening or brief assessment of anxiety is needed.
anxiety; measurement; psychometrics; screening
Previous neuroimaging studies suggest that prefrontal cortex (PFC) modulation of the amygdala and related limbic structures is an underlying neural substrate of effortful emotion regulation. Anxiety-prone individuals experience excessive negative emotions, signaling potential dysfunction of systems supporting down-regulation of negative emotions. We examined the hypothesis that anxious individuals require increased recruitment of lateral and medial PFC to decrease negative emotions. An emotion regulation task that involved viewing moderately negative images was presented during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Participants with elevated trait anxiety scores (n = 13) and normal trait anxiety scores (n = 13) were trained to reduce negative emotions using cognitive reappraisal. Blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) changes were contrasted for periods when participants were reducing emotions versus when they were maintaining emotions. Compared to healthy controls, anxious participants showed greater activation of brain regions implicated in effortful (lateral PFC) and automatic (subgenual anterior cingulate cortex) control of emotions during down-regulation of negative emotions. Left ventrolateral PFC activity was associated with greater self-reported reduction of distress in anxious participants, but not in healthy controls. These findings provide evidence of altered functioning of neural substrates of emotion regulation in anxiety-prone individuals. Anxious participants required greater engagement of lateral and medial PFC in order to successfully reduce negative emotions.
Emotion; Emotion Regulation; fMRI; Anxiety; Prefrontal Cortex; Anterior Cingulate Cortex
Pregabalin has shown promise in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Previous functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies indicate agents used to treat anxiety, e.g., SSRIs and benzodiazepines, attenuate amygdala, insula, and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) activation during emotional processing. Our prior study has shown that during anticipation of an emotional stimulus, pregabalin attenuates amygdala and insula activation but increases medial PFC activation. In this study, we examined whether, similar to SSRIs and benzodiazepines, pregabalin attenuates amygdala, insula, and medial PFC during emotional face processing. Sixteen healthy volunteers underwent a double-blind within-subjects fMRI study investigating effects of placebo, 50 mg, and 200 mg pregabalin on neural activation during an emotional face-matching task. Linear mixed model analysis revealed that pregabalin dose-dependently attenuated left amygdala activation during fearful face-matching and left anterior insula activation during angry face-matching. The 50 mg dose exhibited more robust effects than the 200 mg dose in the right anterior insula and ventral ACC. Thus, pregabalin shares some similarity to SSRIs and benzodiazepines in attenuating anger and fear-related insula and amygdala activation during emotional face processing. However, there is evidence that a subclinical 50 mg dose of pregabalin produced more robust and widespread effects on neural responses in this paradigm than the more clinically relevant 200 mg dose. Taken together, pregabalin has a slightly different effect on brain activation as it relates to anticipation and emotional face processing, which may account for its unique characteristic as an agent for the treatment of anxiety disorders.
anxiety; anxiolytic; benzodiazepine; emotion; fMRI; pharmaco-imaging; pregabalin
Significant controversy exists as to whether soldiers are at increased risk for suicide and suicidal behaviors compared with civilians. Furthermore, little is known about whether risk factors for suicidal behaviors in civilian populations are generalizable to soldiers. The aim of the current study is to determine whether the prevalence and correlates of past-year suicidal ideation and suicide attempts differ in Canadian soldiers when compared with Canadian civilians. The current study utilized data from the Canadian Community Health Survey Cycle 1.2-Canadian Forces Supplement in conjunction with the 2001–2002 Canadian Community Health Survey Cycle 1.2. Logistic regression interaction models were used to explore differences between correlates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts comparing Canadian soldiers with civilians. Although there was no significant difference between the 2 samples on prevalence of past-year suicidal ideation, the prevalence of past-year suicide attempts was significantly lower in the Canadian forces sample compared with the civilian population (odds ratio = 0.41, 95% confidence interval: 0.25, 0.67). Findings suggest that suicide attempts are less common in Canadian active military personnel than in the civilian population. Possible mechanisms for these differences are discussed.
Canada; military personnel; psychology, military; risk factors; social problems; suicide
The current review describes the phenomenology of several common anxiety disorders in children and adolescents as they present in medical settings. Anxiety disorders and associated features in children are described, along with epidemiology, functional impairment, common somatic complaints, medical comorbidity, health care utilization, and presentation in general and specialty pediatric medical settings. Recommendations for clinical management in pediatric settings are presented, and evidence-based interventions are described along with emerging treatments for pediatric anxiety disorders. The review concludes with a discussion of future research directions that may lead to increased recognition and improved management of anxiety disorders in pediatric medical settings.