Nair MK, Russell PS, Krishnan R, Russell S, Subramaniam VS, Nazeema S, Chembagam N, George B
Indian J Pediatr 2013 Nov;80 Suppl 2:S149-54
OBJECTIVES: Anxiety Disorders (AD) in children and adolescents present with unique clinical features and exhibit phenotypic diversity. The symptom presentation varies with regard to age of onset, developmental factors and gender. This study documents the clinical presentation of AD among adolescents in India, and explores the symptom clusters among the different age groups as well as gender.
METHODS: Five hundred adolescents aged between 11 and 19 y from Pattanakad ICDS block, of Allapuzha district in Kerala were recruited and assessed using the self-rated Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED) questionnaire to identify symptom clusters of anxiety and this was followed by confirmation of the diagnosis using DSM-IV TR within a week. Anxiety symptom clusters and severity (obtained from continuous SCARED scores) were compared between early, middle and late adolescence subgroups as well as between sexes.
RESULTS: The most predominant anxiety symptoms across the subtypes were the anxious mood, which was noted in 12.60% followed by cognitive symptoms in 9.94% of the cases and finally physical symptoms in 9.22% of the study sample. The symptom clusters varied among the subtypes with anxious mood being commoner in Panic Disorder (PD), cognitive symptoms in Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and physical symptoms were prominent among Separation Anxiety (SeAD) and Social Anxiety Disorders (SoAD). The severity of anxiety disorder in general and its various subtypes were mostly of mild intensity although significant proportion had a severe form of the disease(s). The severity of the AD among girls was statistically significantly higher than boys (P = 0.02). There was no significant difference on symptom frequency or anxiety severity with regard to age.
CONCLUSIONS: Understanding of age appropriate presentation of anxiety symptoms may help in streamlining the treatment guidelines and yield a better estimate of the disease process.