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October 26, 1984


JAMA. 1984;252(16):2223-2228. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350160091027

The two-year interval between Contempo reports has recorded a steady pace of both clinical and basic science research. There has been progress in delineating the molecular biology of neurotransmitter receptors and membrane channels1 and in clarification of diagnoses, aided in part by biological markers2,3 and neuroendocrine probes,4-6 as well as in the more selective use of laboratory tests in therapeutics.7 Also noteworthy are increasing data on the familial aggregation of major psychiatric disorders and evidence of heritable factors in some.8 Research relating to anxiety disorders has benefited from recent attention and demonstrates not only the use of new methodologies and tools but also shows utility for clinical practice.

Anxiety and depression constitute the two major classes of psychiatric disorders that fully deserve the term "psychosomatic." Both psychic and somatic symptoms may be intertwined. Frequently, however, one or the other clinical manifestation predominates. In anxiety states,