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Anomalous stress reactions in patients suffering from depression and anxiety
  1. Harry Brierley,
  2. Robin Jamieson
  1. Professorial Unit of Psychological Medicine, General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne


    An experiment is reported in which the forearm muscle blood flow of a group of patients with mixed depressions is compared with that of a group of patients with anxiety states. The blood flow was measured under relaxed conditions and during the presentation of a noise `stress'. The measurements obtained under stressed conditions show that, while the blood flow of those with anxiety states fell with repetition of the stress noise, that of the depressive patients increased. A similar pattern was shown by the relaxed measurements but here the difference was not statistically significant. There was also suggestion that stress produced a fall in blood flow in depressive subjects and an increase in patients with anxiety states. These results tend to support the hypothesis that depressive patients show something akin to a freeze response to stress, while patients with anxiety states show an arousal response.

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