More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Anxiety Disorders Linked To Physical Conditions
October 24, 2006

Anxiety disorders appear to be independently associated with several physical conditions, including thyroid disease, respiratory disease, arthritis and migraine headaches, according to a report in the October 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. This co-occurrence of disorders may significantly increase the risk of disability and negatively affect quality of life.

Although depression has long been linked to physical illness, evidence supporting an association between anxiety disorders and physical health problems is more recent, according to background information in the article. Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, agoraphobia (fear of being in a situation where panic or anxiety may occur and escape from the situation might be difficult), social phobia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Studies have found that those with phobic (fearful) anxiety may be more likely to experience sudden cardiac death, and rates of anxiety disorders are higher than expected in patients with thyroid disease, cancer, hypertension and several other conditions.

Jitender Sareen, B.Sc., M.D., F.R.C.P.C., University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada, and colleagues further explored the association between anxiety disorders and physical conditions in 4,181 adults who were part of the German Health Survey (GHS), conducted between 1997 and 1999. The survey assessed whether participants had any physical illnesses through a questionnaire asking about 44 particular conditions, a medical interview conducted by a primary care physician, blood pressure measurements and blood and urine samples. Psychiatric interviews were conducted by a psychologist or physician, who used criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) to detect anxiety disorders. A quality of life survey--which measured factors such as physical functioning, pain and general health--was also administered, and to determine disability levels participants reported how many days of the past 30 they were unable to perform their usual daily activities.

Among the 1,913 men and 2,268 women in the study, 429 (8.4 percent) had an anxiety disorder within the past month and 2,610 (60.8 percent) had a physical condition within the past month. Having an anxiety disorder was associated with having any type of physical condition, and specifically with respiratory diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, arthritis, allergies, thyroid diseases and migraine headaches. Most individuals with both an anxiety disorder and physical illness developed the anxiety disorder first, and tended to have a poorer quality of life than those with anxiety disorders or physical conditions alone. Those who had both types of disorders also were more likely to have one or more days of disability than those with physical illnesses alone.

"The mechanisms of association between anxiety disorders and physical conditions remain unknown, although several possibilities should be considered," the authors write. For example, the presence of an illness may cause worry and anxiety that eventually becomes serious enough to qualify as an anxiety disorder, the presence of an anxiety disorders could trigger biological processes that contribute to illness or a third condition, such as a substance abuse disorder, could be linked to both.

"These findings extend previous work in clinical and community samples that noted an association between anxiety disorders and physical illnesses but also demonstrate the unique association of this comorbidity with poor quality of life and disability," the authors write. "Although there have been increased efforts to recognize and treat depression in the medically ill, our findings underscore the need to create similar programs to recognize and treat anxiety disorders in the medically ill."
 

Similar threads

Zoom Anxiety Disorders An online weekly support group open to anyone who has an anxiety problem. This is a peer support group, for adults ages 18+, led by a mental health professional. You’ll have a chance to talk with others who “get” anxiety and also learn self-help skills. A referral or diagnosis is not needed to attend. All groups are open to anyone who has anxiety. Groups are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. The cost is $5 and groups are non-refundable. Fee: $5/group...
Replies
0
Views
44
Childhood Anxiety & Related Disorders Anxiety BC May 26, 2016 Does My Child Have An Anxiety Disorder? As discussed throughout this website, anxiety is useful in certain situations, some of the time. But how do you, the parent or caregiver, know when the signs of anxiety you are seeing in your child might be significant enough to qualify for an anxiety disorder? An appointment with your family physician or a trained mental health professional is a good first step. However, in preparation...
Replies
0
Views
2K
Panic! On the campus: The rise of anxiety disorders among Canadian post-secondary students Sharon Miki — The Other Press (Douglas College) September 13, 2012 1:26 pm NEW WESTMINSTER (CUP) — Whether it’s packing on the freshman 15, staying up all night cramming for exams, or spending thousands of dollars on never-opened textbooks, there are many downers to expect when you enter post-secondary and move into your twenties. However, something that most people don’t talk about — but many...
Replies
0
Views
2K
The Link Between Anxiety Disorders and Physical Illness By Eileen Bailey, Health Guide Monday, April 30, 2012 Anxiety disorders have been linked to several different physical illnesses, but the age old question of which comes first, the chicken or the egg, continues to be debated. In some cases, the stress of living with a chronic illness can lead to anxiety. On the other hand, there are some physical illnesses that can develop because of living with chronic stress. Some illnesses...
Replies
0
Views
2K
Anxiety disorders in children are not detected in due time June 1, 2012 Science codex.com Only few children suffering from anxiety disorders undergo treatment. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have looked into how many children who suffer from the most common yet treatable anxiety disorders that are actually diagnosed in the psychiatric system in Denmark. According to the researchers, the number is surprisingly low compared to other western countries, indicating that...
Replies
0
Views
2K
Top