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Anniversary Reactions in Medical Patients

Porcelli, Piero PhD*; Fava, Giovanni Andrea MD†‡; Rafanelli, Chiara MD, PhD; Bellomo, Antonello MD§; Grandi, Silvana MD; Grassi, Luigi MD; Pasquini, Paolo MD; Picardi, Angelo MD#; Quartesan, Roberto MD**; Rigatelli, Marco MD††; Sonino, Nicoletta MD‡‡‡

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: July 2012 - Volume 200 - Issue 7 - p 603–606
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31825bfb2e
Original Articles

The aim of this study was to explore the prevalence and characteristics of anniversary reactions (somatic symptoms occurring at the anniversary of specific events) in a large sample of 1498 medical patients from different medical settings who underwent the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID) and the Structured Interview for Diagnostic Criteria for Psychosomatic Research (DCPR), which provide definition of anniversary reactions. In 54 (3.6%) of the 1498 patients for whom anniversary reaction was identified, 61.1% had a concurrent DSM-IV diagnosis. Other syndromes related to somatization, abnormal illness behavior, irritable mood, demoralization, and alexithymia were present in 9 of 10 cases. Symptoms of the conversion syndrome were found in 6 (0.4%) patients with the SCID and in 67 (4.5%) patients with the DCPR, 20% of whom also had anniversary reaction. The results should alert physicians to enquire about the timing of symptoms in relation to meaningful personal events.

*Psychosomatic Unit, IRCCS De Bellis Hospital, Castellana Grotte, Bari, Italy; †Laboratory of Psychosomatics and Clinimetrics, Department of Psychology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy; ‡Department of Psychiatry, State University of NewYork at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY; §Section of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy; ∥Department of Medical Sciences of Communication and Behavior, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy; ¶Clinical Epidemiology, IDI-IRCCS, Rome, Italy; #Mental Health Unit, Center of Epidemiology, Surveillance and Health Promotion, Italian National Institute of Health, Rome, Italy; **Section of Psychiatry, Clinical Psychology and Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy; ††Department of Neuroscience, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy; and ‡‡Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Padova, and Department of Mental Health, Padova, Italy.

Send reprint requests to Piero Porcelli, PhD, UO Psicologia Clinica, IRCCS Ospedale De Bellis, Via Turi 27, 70013 Castellana Grotte, Bari, Italy. E-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.