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Symptoms of anxiety and depression often coexist, and evidence suggests that this has a genetic basis, among other possible causes. However, the current classification of comorbid generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) and depression (anxious depression) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition; DSM-5) does not fully reflect the high prevalence of anxiety symptoms in people with depression and the International Classification of Diseases (10th and 11th revisions) has tended to identify anxious depression with minor disorders seen in primary care. As a result, few dedicated therapeutic trials have been conducted in patients with anxious depression, and specific treatment guidelines and recommendations are lacking. Fortunately, there is considerable therapeutic overlap between anxiety and depression, such that many agents with antidepressant efficacy are also effective for symptoms of GAD. The initial treatment of a patient with depression and symptoms of anxiety should be with an agent that is approved for both major depressive disorder and GAD, such as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. There is an obvious need for greater recognition of anxious depression in order to boost the volume of high-quality clinical data, which should translate over time into better, more specific treatment recommendations and improved outcomes.

Original publication




Journal article


Adv Ther

Publication Date



Agomelatine, Antidepressive agents, Anxiety disorders, Major depressive disorder, Serotonin uptake inhibitors