1994 issue 1


Volume 3, issue 1


Anxiety in physical diseases

1. Samodzielnej Pracowni Psychopatologii Instytutu Neurologiczno-Psychiatrycznego PAM w Szczecinie
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 1994, 3, 77-87
Keywords: anxiety, physical diseases, neoplastic diseases, psychosomatic diseases, surgical conditions


The aim of the study was to assess anxiety symptoms intensity in patients suffering from a physical disease, and to compare relative share of anxiety and depression in the clinical pattern of selected groups of somatic diseases. Subjects were 93 patients hospitalized for the following groups of physical diseases: psychosomatic (N=32), neoplastic (N=31), and after surgery (N=30). The control group (N=31) consisted of randomly selected healthy persons. The first part of the study consisted of a psychiatric interview and clinical assessment of anxiety and depression level using the Hamilton scale. In the second part the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory was administered. In the stressful situation of illness and hospital treatment women were found to respond with severe anxiety and depression, while men – with an increased intensity of depressive symptoms mostly. Persons with a high trait anxiety level more often indicated a tendency to psychosomatic and neoplastic diseases. Patients with psychosomatic conditions effectively used their defense mechanisms of state anxiety reduction. However, in the case of neoplastic diseases these mechanisms efficacy turned out to be unsatisfactory, probably due to a strong endangerment of these patients health and life. Trait anxiety did not predispose to "surgical" conditions incidence, while stress associated with undergoing a surgery resulted in increased state anxiety level. The patients somatic condition severity had no marked effect on either affective disorders aggravation or heightened subjective experience of illness. The sense of being sick was the stronger the more intense were both the patients depressive symptoms and his anxiety as a personality trait.

Address for correspondence:
Dr Janusz M. Kacperczyk,
Samodzielna Pracownia Psychopatologii Instytutu Neurologiczno-Psychiatrycznego PAM, ul. Broniewskiego 32,
71-460 Szczecin