Lifetime prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders in fragile X premutation carriers

James A Bourgeois, Andreea L Seritan, E Melina Casillas, David Hessl, Andrea Schneider, Ying Yang, Inderjeet Kaur, Jennifer B Cogswell, Danh V Nguyen, Randi J Hagerman
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2011, 72 (2): 175-82

OBJECTIVE: The authors studied the lifetime prevalence of DSM-IV-TR psychiatric disorders in a population of adults with the fragile X premutation.

METHOD: The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV was conducted, from 2007-2008, in 85 individuals with the fragile X premutation, 47 with the fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS; 33 male, 14 female; mean age = 66 years) and 38 without FXTAS (16 male, 22 female; mean age = 52 years). Lifetime prevalence for mood and anxiety disorders among carriers with and without FXTAS was compared to available age-specific population estimates from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R).

RESULTS: Among participants with FXTAS, 30 (65%) met lifetime DSM-IV-TR criteria for a mood disorder; 24 (52%) met lifetime DSM-IV-TR criteria for an anxiety disorder. Among the non-FXTAS participants, there were 15 instances of lifetime mood disorder (42%) and 18 of lifetime anxiety disorder (47%). When compared to age-specific NCS-R data, the lifetime prevalences of any mood disorder (P < .0001), major depressive disorder (P < .0001), any anxiety disorder (P < .0001), panic disorder (P = .006), specific phobia (P = .0003), and posttraumatic stress disorder (P = .004) were significantly higher in participants with FXTAS. The lifetime rates of social phobia in individuals with the premutation without FXTAS were significantly higher than NCS-R data (P = .001).

CONCLUSIONS: This sample of carriers of the fragile X premutation had a notably high lifetime risk of mood and anxiety disorders. Mood and anxiety disorders may be part of the clinical phenotype of the fragile X premutation conditions, especially in carriers with FXTAS. Clinicians encountering these patients are advised to consider FXTAS as a neuropsychiatric syndrome as well as a neurologic disorder.

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