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Psychophysiological aspects of anxiety and depression

Amirzadeh-Shams, Abdul Majid; (1990) Psychophysiological aspects of anxiety and depression. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis describes six experiments which were designed to investigate the nature of the problems of anxiety and depression using psychophysiological measures. The first three experiments (Chapters 5, 6 and 7) are concerned with abnormal skin conductance in depression. Indices of electrodermal activity and thyroid function were both assessed in 72 untreated patients with primary depression and 53 normal controls in order to identify clinical picture present in abnormal skin conductance. Sixty- eight percent of the subjects were identified as having abnormal skin conductance. Forty-seven percent of those patients classified as neurotic on the Newcastle scale were also found to be neurotic in terms of their electrodermal activity. Consistent correlations were found between the skin conductance and thyroid function suggesting that abnormalities of thyroid activity may be responsible for skin conductance abnormalities observed in depressed patients. Mood changes of anxious, depressed and non-psychiatric subjects were measured over a period of 4 weeks (Chapter 8). By this means it was hoped to ascertain whether anxiety and depression were separate psychological processes or part of the same psychological process. It was found that overall mood did not differ significantly between groups. Patterns of mood change over time were investigated and strikingly similar patterns emerged for anxious and depressed moods. A group of chronic anxious patients recently withdrawn from benzodiazepines were given tests doses of diazepam (5mg) and placebo (Chapter 9). They were compared with a control group who had never been chronic benzodiazepine users, using a battery of physiological and psychological tests sensitive to benzodiazepine effects in order to establish the dependence-inducing properties of these drugs. The persistence of withdrawal symptoms to diazepam's effects on self-rated symptom scales was demonstrated unequivocally. The final results presented (Chapter 10) are from the psychophysiological responses in the patients whose results were presented in Chapter 9 in comparison with hysterical and anxious patients, and normal subjects. In this way, it was hoped to ascertain whether the symptoms which have resulted from benzodiazepine withdrawal in the patients withdrawn following long-term benzodiazepines treatment were a form of conversion reaction or anxiety. Although these patients showed little anxiety and physiological arousal in comparison with anxious patients, the results of psychological questionnaires largely supported the view that these patients have a very similar pattern of reactions to other patients with conversion symptoms.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Psychophysiological aspects of anxiety and depression
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Psychology; Depression
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10107502
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