Publications by authors named "Cindy J Aaronson"

7 Publications

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Treating comorbid anxiety and depression: Psychosocial and pharmacological approaches.

World J Psychiatry 2015 Dec 22;5(4):366-78. Epub 2015 Dec 22.

Jeremy D Coplan, Department of Psychiatry, Division of Neuropsychopharmacology, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, New York, NY 11203, United States.

Comorbid anxiety with depression predicts poor outcomes with a higher percentage of treatment resistance than either disorder occurring alone. Overlap of anxiety and depression complicates diagnosis and renders treatment challenging. A vital step in treatment of such comorbidity is careful and comprehensive diagnostic assessment. We attempt to explain various psychosocial and pharmacological approaches for treatment of comorbid anxiety and depression. For the psychosocial component, we focus only on generalized anxiety disorder based on the following theoretical models: (1) "the avoidance model"; (2) "the intolerance of uncertainty model"; (3) "the meta-cognitive model"; (4) "the emotion dysregulation model"; and (5) "the acceptance based model". For depression, the following theoretical models are explicated: (1) "the cognitive model"; (2) "the behavioral activation model"; and (3) "the interpersonal model". Integration of these approaches is suggested. The treatment of comorbid anxiety and depression necessitates specific psychopharmacological adjustments as compared to treating either condition alone. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors are considered first-line treatment in uncomplicated depression comorbid with a spectrum of anxiety disorders. Short-acting benzodiazepines (BZDs) are an important "bridging strategy" to address an acute anxiety component. In patients with comorbid substance abuse, avoidance of BZDs is recommended and we advise using an atypical antipsychotic in lieu of BZDs. For mixed anxiety and depression comorbid with bipolar disorder, we recommend augmentation of an antidepressant with either lamotrigine or an atypical agent. Combination and augmentation therapies in the treatment of comorbid conditions vis-à-vis monotherapy may be necessary for positive outcomes. Combination therapy with tricyclic antidepressants, gabapentin and selective serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (e.g., duloxetine) are specifically useful for comorbid chronic pain syndromes. Aripiprazole, quetiapine, risperidone and other novel atypical agents may be effective as augmentations. For treatment-resistant patients, we recommend a "stacking approach" not dissimilar from treatment of hypertension In conclusion, we delineate a comprehensive approach comprising integration of various psychosocial approaches and incremental pharmacological interventions entailing bridging strategies, augmentation therapies and ultimately stacking approaches towards effectively treating comorbid anxiety and depression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5498/wjp.v5.i4.366DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4694550PMC
December 2015

Heart rate and respiratory response to doxapram in patients with panic disorder.

Psychiatry Res 2015 May 9;227(1):32-8. Epub 2015 Mar 9.

Franklin Behavioral Health Consultants, Bronx, NY, USA.

Panic disorder (PD) is characterized by anticipatory anxiety and panic, both causing physiological arousal. We investigated the differential responses between anticipatory anxiety and panic in PD and healthy controls (HC). Subjects (15 PD and 30 HC) received an injection of a respiratory stimulant, doxapram, with a high rate of producing panic attacks in PD patients, or an injection of saline. PD subjects had significantly higher scores in anxiety and panic symptoms during both conditions. Analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) indices showed higher sympathetic activity (LF) during anticipatory anxiety and panic states, an increase in the ratio of LF/HF during the anticipatory and panic states and a decrease in parasympathetic (HF) component in PD patients. During doxapram PD subjects increased their LF/HF ratio while HC had a reduction in LF/HF. Parasympathetic component of HRV was lower during anticipatory anxiety in PD. In general, PD showed greater sympathetic and psychological responses related to anxiety and sensations of dyspnea, reduced parasympathetic responses during anticipatory and panic states, but no differences in respiratory response. This confirms previous studies showing that PD patients do not have an intrinsic respiratory abnormality (either heightened or dysregulated) at the level of the brain stem but rather an exaggerated fear response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2015.03.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4420657PMC
May 2015

Heart rate and blood pressure changes during autonomic nervous system challenge in panic disorder patients.

Psychosom Med 2010 Jun 5;72(5):442-9. Epub 2010 Apr 5.

Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.

Objective: To test the hypothesis that panic disorder (PD) patients have a heightened or deregulated autonomic nervous system at rest and during autonomic challenge compared with healthy controls (HC); and to test a second hypothesis that severity of illness differentiates patients'; sympathovagal balance both at rest and during orthostatic challenge.

Methods: Spectral analysis of heart rate (HR) and blood pressure was performed on 30 PD and 10 HC participants during an orthostatic challenge (head-up tilt).

Results: PD patients presented higher HR (p < .001), lower heart rate variability (HRV) (p < .015), higher mean diastolic blood pressure (p < .006), higher low-frequency component of HR (p < .001), and a higher ratio of low-frequency to high-frequency component of HR (LF/HF) (p < .022) than HC at baseline. During tilt, PD patients responded with higher HR (p < .039), lower HRV (p < .043), increased mean diastolic blood pressure (p < .028), and a mild increase in LF/HF, whereas controls responded with a five-fold increase in LF/HF (p < .022). Patients with higher illness severity ratings (Clinical Global Impression Scale) showed higher HR (p < .002), lower HRV (p < .026), and a lower total power of systolic blood pressure (p < .02) compared with less ill patients.

Conclusion: These findings demonstrate a consistently higher or deregulated autonomic arousal in PD patients at rest and during orthostatic challenge compared with HC. These data also reveal a possible association between the level of anxiety illness severity and sympathovagal balance, which may imply greater cardiac risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181d972c2DOI Listing
June 2010

Effect of medication and psychotherapy on heart rate variability in panic disorder.

Depress Anxiety 2009 ;26(3):251-8

Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.

Background: Panic disorder (PD) patients have been shown to have reduced heart rate variability (HRV). Low HRV has been associated with elevated risk for cardiovascular disease. Our aim was to investigate the effects of treatment on heart rate (HR) in patients with PD through a hyperventilation challenge.

Methods: We studied 54 participants, 43 with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) PD and 11 controls. Subjects lay supine with their heads in a plastic canopy chamber, resting for 15 min and then breathing at a rate of 30 breaths per minute for 10 min. HRV was sampled for spectral analysis. Clinical and behavioral measures of anxiety were assessed. Treatment was chosen by patients: either 12 weeks of CBT alone or CBT with sertraline.

Results: All patients showed significant decrease on clinical measures from baseline and 31 were treatment responders, 8 dropped out of the study before completion of the 12-week treatment phase and 4 were deemed nonresponders after 12 weeks of treatment. Although both treatments led to significant clinical improvement, only CBT alone demonstrated a significant reduction in HR and increase in HRV.

Conclusions: Our study replicated the finding that increased HR and decreased HRV occur in PD patients. Given the evidence of cardiac risk related to HRV, CBT appears to have additional benefits beyond symptom reduction. The mechanisms of this difference between CBT and sertraline are unclear and require further study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/da.20533DOI Listing
July 2009

Predictors and time course of response among panic disorder patients treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy.

J Clin Psychiatry 2008 Mar;69(3):418-24

Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.

Objective: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is well documented as an efficacious treatment for panic disorder. We provided open CBT treatment to patients who subsequently participated in a maintenance treatment study. This article reports on predictors and trajectory of response in 381 participants who completed treatment at 4 sites.

Method: Participants who met criteria for panic disorder with or without agoraphobia (N = 381) completed assessment and entered treatment. Of these, 256 completed 11 sessions of CBT delivered by trained and supervised research therapists. Raters trained to reliability obtained demographic data and administered structured diagnostic interviews and the Hamilton Rating Scales for Depression and Anxiety and the Panic Disorder Severity Scale (PDSS) measures at baseline and posttreatment. We obtained self-report (SR) measures of anxiety sensitivity and adult separation anxiety at baseline and posttreatment and PDSS-SR ratings weekly. The study was conducted between November 1999 and July 2002.

Results: Treatment response rate was 65.6% for completers and 44.1% for the intent-to-treat sample. Greater severity of panic disorder and lower levels of adult separation anxiety predicted response. Beginning at week 4, responders showed greater mean decreases in PDSS scores than non-responders and maintained the advantage throughout the treatment. By week 6, 76% of responders, compared to 36% of nonresponders, recorded PDSS scores at least 40% below baseline on 2 consecutive weeks (odds ratio = 5.42, 95% CI = 3.10 to 9.48).

Conclusion: These results suggest that CBT is just as effective for more severe panic disorder patients as it is for those with less severe panic disorder, regardless of other comorbid disorders, including agoraphobia. However, patients experiencing adult separation anxiety disorder are less likely to respond. Our results further inform clinicians that many people who will respond to 11 weeks of treatment will have done so by the middle of the treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4088/jcp.v69n0312DOI Listing
March 2008

The effect of doxapram on brain imaging in patients with panic disorder.

Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2007 Oct 8;17(10):672-86. Epub 2007 Jun 8.

Laboratory of Clinical Psychobiology, Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY 10029, USA.

Administration of doxapram hydrochloride, a respiratory stimulant, is experienced by panic disorder patients to be similar to panic attacks but has reduced emotional effect in normal volunteers, thus providing a laboratory model of panic for functional imaging. Six panic patients and seven normal control subjects underwent positron emission tomography with (18)F-deoxyglucose imaging after a single-blinded administration of either doxapram or a placebo saline solution. Saline and doxapram were administered on separate days in counterbalanced order. Patients showed a greater heart rate increase on doxapram relative to saline than controls, indicating differential response. On the saline placebo day, patients had greater prefrontal relative activity than controls. In response to doxapram, patients tended to decrease prefrontal activity more than controls, and increased cingulate gyrus and amygdala activity more than controls. This suggests that panic disorder patients activate frontal inhibitory centers less than controls, a tendency that may lower the threshold for panic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2007.04.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2695988PMC
October 2007

Comparison of attachment styles in borderline personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

Psychiatr Q 2006 ;77(1):69-80

Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.

The intense, unstable interpersonal relationships characteristic of patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are thought to represent insecure attachment. The Reciprocal Attachment Questionnaire was used to compare the attachment styles of patients with BPD to the styles of patients with a contrasting personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD). The results showed that patients with BPD were more likely to exhibit angry withdrawal and compulsive care-seeking attachment patterns. Patients with BPD also scored higher on the dimensions of lack of availability of the attachment figure, feared loss of the attachment figure, lack of use of the attachment figure, and separation protest. The findings may be relevant for understanding the core interpersonal psychopathology of BPD and for managing therapeutic relationships with these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11126-006-7962-xDOI Listing
June 2007
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