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Comparison of death anxiety symptoms between generalized anxiety disorder and somatization disorder in geriatric patients attending a psychiatric outpatient clinic for the first time.

Somatic complaints are among the important complaints frequently seen in Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Somatic Symptom Disorder (SSD). Death anxiety has also increased significantly with the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in the elderly population. In this study, we compared the difference of the death anxiety level among patients with GAD, SSD and healthy controls. This cross-sectional study which was carried out in Artvin State Hospital's Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic included 59 participants (GAD = 21, SSD = 18, HC = 20). Three groups were subjected to detailed psychiatric examination by the same psychiatrist. Subsequently, anxiety, somatic symptoms and death anxiety were assessed using standardized tools (GAD-7, Templer Death Anxiety Scale, Somatic Symptom Scale). The GAD-7 Scale mean of the GAD group was significantly higher than SSD (p = 0.001) and Healthy Control (HC) (p = 0.001) groups. Death anxiety and Somatic Symptom levels in GAD and SSD groups were significantly higher than in healthy controls. (GAD, p = 0.001; SSD, p = 0.001) with no significant difference between GAD and SSD groups (p = 1). Healthy controls exhibited significantly lower scores in the three scales mean scores compared to the SSD and GAD groups (p = 0.001). Irrespective of specific psychiatric diagnoses, these findings highlight elevated death anxiety in the elderly, underscoring the need for tailored mental health interventions.

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