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Researchers at a Stanford-led study have identified five new categories that incorporate the current general diagnoses of anxiety and depression.
The five new categories identify are anxious arousal, general anxiety, tension, anhedonia and melancholia. This classification is defined by symptoms and region and of brain activation.
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“We are breaking the symptom overlap in our classification, which can play a role in tailored treatment choices,” the researchers said.
The research is currently carried out by Leanne Williams, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral, in conjunction with other groups in the field of psychiatric neuroscience. The combined work will help provide better treatment plans for Americans who are having a hard time with these disorders.
Currently, one of the leading causes of loss of productivity and disability around the world are anxiety and depression. Statistics show that only about 30% of patients recover from treatment.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders put in place the current definition of broad diagnostic categories. The drawback of this definition for the likes of anxiety and depression is that there are many overlapping symptoms that is almost impossible to pinpoint biological markers for potential treatments or cures for these diseases.
“Currently, the treatments are very similar for anyone in these broad categories,” Williams said. “By creating a proper definition of the diagnosis, adequate treatment options can be prescribed.”
For this work, data from around 400 participants with healthy diagnoses and multiple anxiety and depression diagnoses were collected. The participants were part of a number of tests that involved brain mapping, self reporting of symptoms, and psychiatric diagnostic testing. The researched looked how the participants functioned in their daily life, ability to build social relationships, and their approach to every day life.
The same tests was done on a different set of 381 individuals. Following a comprehensive data-driven approach, researchers were able to identify the same five new categories across both groups.
According to the results 19 percent of participants were characterized by tension, 13 percent by anxious arousal, 9 percent by melancholia, 9 percent by general anxiety and 7 percent by anhedonia.
“The other participants who did not meet the diagnostic criteria, were still experiencing some level symptoms of tension,” said Katherine Grisanzio, lead author of the study.
The researchers described the new categories
Tension: Characterized by irritability. Individuals in this category are sensitive. Anxiety makes the nervous system extra sensitive.
Anxious Arousal: Cognitive functioning is impaired. The person has difficulty in reasoning, focusing, and concentrating.
Melancholia: People have difficulty with social functions and social interactions.
Anhedonia: The inability to feel pleasure. This is often a hidden type of depression. They are quite numb to pleasure and its traits.
General anxiety: It involves worry, and anxious arousal.
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