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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 47-52

Somatosensory amplification, health anxiety, and alexithymia in generalized anxiety disorder


1 Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Sandeep Grover
Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh - 160 012
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ipj.ipj_72_17

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Aim: The aim of this study was to study somatosensory amplification, health anxiety (hypochondriasis), and alexithymia among patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and to evaluate the association of these variables with the severity of GAD. Materials and Methods: Cross-sectional design was employed, and patients were recruited from the outpatient clinic of the psychiatry department of a multispecialty tertiary care medical institute in North India. The patients who were clinically diagnosed to have GAD by the two independent qualified psychiatrists were screened with Mini International Neuropsychiatry Interview to confirm the diagnosis. Forty patients with GAD meeting the inclusion criteria were assessed with GAD-7 scale, somatosensory amplification scale (SSAS), the Whiteley Index (WI) and Toronto alexithymia scale - 20 Hindi version (TAS-H-20). Results: The mean scores of patients with GAD on SSAS, WI, TAS-H-20, and GAD-7 scale were 25.70 (SD-5.84), 7.75 (SD-3.30), 59.77 (SD- 8.63), and 13.37 (SD- 3.58), respectively. Half of the patients with GAD had significant health anxiety as defined by WI score of >7. Around 40% of GAD patients were alexithymic as defined with TAS-H-20 scores of >60. SSAS, WI, TAS-H-20 had a positive correlation with the severity of GAD as measured with GAD-7 scale. Conclusions: GAD patients have significant somatosensory amplification, health anxiety (hypochondriasis), and alexithymia. Accordingly, there is a need to develop effective psychological interventions focused on these factors in GAD.


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