Anxiety symptoms in depression : are they related to antidepressant treatment and its side-effects?
Lo, Sally (2020)
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Earlier studies suggest that depression with comorbid anxiety symptoms have worse treatment outcomes, but that anxiety symptoms could be alleviated with antidepressants (AD). Depressed patients with comorbid anxiety symptoms also suffer from more severe and frequent AD side effects, but less is known about associations between anxiety and specific side-effects (e.g. sexual and withdrawal side-effects). The two aims in the present study were (1) to elucidate associations between anxiety symptoms and AD treatment, and (2) investigate the association between anxiety symptoms and perceived side effects of AD treatment. Data for the present study was extracted from the DETRECO project (N = 326; 18-63 years), where 137 respondents were currently under AD treatment, and 189 respondents had never been under AD treatment. The AD users were significantly older than the non-users and a higher percentage of the AD users had been depressed for five years or more. Women were also slightly overrepresented in the AD users. Anxiety levels were measured using STAI-6 and AD treatment was assessed with specific questions on usage. Perceived side effects of AD were addressed with a questionnaire. Exploratory factor analysis data from Sjöberg (2017) was utilised for computing mean scores in four side effects factors. The results of a two-way ANCOVA showed no significant main effect of either treatment (AD vs. no AD) or depression duration (0-4 vs. ≥ 5 years) on anxiety symptom levels when controlling for age, but a significant main effect of the covariate age was found. A subsequent control analysis of age-matched participants revealed no differences in anxiety levels. In the second part of the study, multiple hierarchical regression analysis found a significant negative association between anxiety and sexual side effects, such that higher anxiety levels were associated with lower levels of sexual side effects. Estrangement, Dependency/Abstinence or Physical side effects were not associated with anxiety. To conclude, no difference was found in anxiety level between those who were and were not under AD treatment. Nonetheless, an unexpected negative association was found between anxiety and sexual side effects, which may be due to anxiety distracting attention from erotic cues and in turn decreasing overall sexual activity and resulting in less sexual side effects experienced.
- 515 Psykologia