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Symptom differences in major depression, dysthymia, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder
Am J Psychiatry 1994;151:205-209.
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OBJECTIVE: The authors compared symptom features of specific subtypes of depressive and anxiety disorders. METHODS: Psychiatric outpatients with moderate levels of psychopathology and DSM-III diagnoses of major depression, dysthymia, panic disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder were given five standard measures of symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorders. Most of the outpatients were white, and most were middle- class. RESULTS: Principal components analysis revealed 12 orthogonal symptom components. Discriminant function analysis indicated that anxiety was distinguished by specific autonomic arousal symptoms, threat-related cognitions, and subjective anxiety and tension. Discriminant function analysis also indicated that depression was distinguished by anhedonia, cognitions of personal loss and failure, and dysphoric mood. CONCLUSIONS: As nosological categories, major depression and panic disorder were better differentiated by specific symptom markers than dysthymia and generalized anxiety disorder.

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