The clinical spectrum of anxiety in Parkinson's disease

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Abstract

Anxiety is common in Parkinson's disease (PD), and contributes to increased disability and poorer quality of life. In spite of its significant impact, the symptomatology, chronology, and neurobiology of anxiety in PD are all poorly understood, and this hinders accurate diagnosis and development of effective treatment strategies. This review investigates and updates literature related to the clinical spectrum of anxiety in PD. The reported prevalence of anxiety in PD varies considerably, with emerging interest in the frequency of the DSM-IV residual category of “Anxiety disorder, not otherwise specified” (Anxiety disorder NOS), which is observed in up to 25% of PD patients. By design, there are no standardized diagnostic criteria for Anxiety disorder NOS, because this is the category applied to individuals who do not meet diagnostic criteria for any other current anxiety disorder. Anxiety rating scales incompletely capture anxiety symptoms that relate specifically to PD symptoms and the complications arising from PD therapy. Consequently, these scales have been deemed inappropriate for use in PD, and there remains a need for the development of a new PD-specific anxiety scale. Research establishing accurate symptom profiles of anxiety in PD is sparse, although characterizing such symptomatology would likely improve clinical diagnosis and facilitate targeted treatment strategies. Research into the neurobiological and psychological underpinnings of anxiety in PD remains inconclusive. Anxiety can precede the onset of PD motor symptoms or can develop after a diagnosis of PD. Further investigations focused on the chronology of anxiety and its relationship to PD diagnosis are required. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society

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