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Anxiety and Depression: Linkages with Viral Diseases

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Anxiety and mood disorders are common in the general population in countries around the world. This article provides a review of the recent literature on anxiety and depressive disorders with a focus on linkages with several important viral diseases. Although the majority of studies have been conducted in developed countries such as the United States and Great Britain, some studies have been carried out in less developed nations where only a small percentage of persons with mental illness receive treatment for their condition. The studies summarized in this review indicate that there are important linkages between anxiety and depression and viral diseases such as influenza A (H1N1) and other influenza viruses, varicella-zoster virus, herpes simplex virus, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and hepatitis C. Additional studies are needed to further clarify the mechanisms for interactions between mental health and communicable diseases, in order to assist patients and further prevention and control efforts.


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Correspondence to Steven S. Coughlin PhD.

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Coughlin, S.S. Anxiety and Depression: Linkages with Viral Diseases. Public Health Rev 34, 7 (2012) doi:10.1007/BF03391675

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  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
  • acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • generalized anxiety disorder
  • influenza A virus
  • H1N1 subtype
  • hepatitis C
  • major depression
  • varicella-zoster virus