News of the WeekPsychiatry

Experts Map the Terrain of Mood Disorders

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Science  26 Feb 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5969, pp. 1068
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5969.1068-a

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One of the issues generating extensive discussion over efforts to revise psychiatry's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the connection between depression and anxiety. This is part of a broader conversation about how the American Psychiatric Association's teams assembling a new DSM-V edition can "deconstruct" psychiatric illnesses, recognizing that few exist in their pure form; rather, comorbidity and cross-cutting features are the norm. Depression is a prime example. It can coexist with practically any other psychiatric condition. And when it's the primary complaint, many other factors can shape its course. Substance abuse and anxiety are two of the most important. Indeed, DSM-V authors are debating whether the relationship between anxiety and depression is so close that they should be subsumed into a supercategory of human hopelessness, fear, and existential angst.