Poststroke anxiety linked to greater depressive symptoms, younger age
Generalized anxiety symptoms commonly occur after stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA) and are associated with younger age and greater depressive symptoms, and these relationships persist even among patients without severe comorbid depressive symptoms, as reported in a recent study.
The study included 258 patients (median age, 65 years; 50 percent male) with stroke or TIA, none of whom were severely aphasic. All patients underwent complete neuropsychological testing and completed the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7) and Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) scales.
Fifty-six patients (21.7 percent) had high GAD-7 scores (≥10), 65 (25.2 percent) had high CES-D scores (≥16), and 40 (15.5 percent) had both elevated generalized anxiety and depression scores.
Being at high risk of generalized anxiety after stroke/TIA was significantly predicted by younger age (odds ratio [OR], 0.96, 95 percent CI, 0.93–0.99; p=0.004) and greater depressive symptoms (OR, 1.20, 1.14–1.26; p≤0.001).
Furthermore, younger patients (≤50 years) were more likely to have both high depression and generalized anxiety scores compared with older patients (30 percent vs 12 percent; p=0.001).
Among patients without severe depressive symptoms (n=193; 75 percent), age and severity of depressive symptoms remained the only factors associated with the risk of generalized anxiety.
The findings highlight the importance of routine screening for depression and further evaluation of anxiety after stroke/TIA, given the frequency of young survivors presenting both generalized anxiety and depressive symptoms, researchers said.