July 1982

Short-term Symptom Change in Outpatient Psychiatric Disorders

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry and Community and Family Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH (Dr Barrett), and the Department of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine (Dr Hurst).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1982;39(7):849-854. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1982.04290070073014

• Changes in symptomatology (Hopkins Symptom Checklist scales) during a three- to four-week period were observed in a group of subjects (symptomatic volunteers) who had specific psychiatric disorders (Research Diagnostic Criteria [RDC]) and who were not currently receiving or awaiting treatment. Four of the depressive disorder categories and two of the anxiety disorder categories showed a significant drop in the primary symptomatology. There was a differential effect of diagnosis on the amount of this "spontaneous" symptom reduction; for the HSCL scales depression and panic-phobic anxiety, the RDC disorders with the highest initial levels of those symptoms (major depressive disorder; panic anxiety disorder, combined panicphobic anxiety disorder) showed the least reduction in that symptomatology.