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Personality disorders and anxiety disorders: what is the relationship?

Latas, Milan; Milovanovic, Srdjan

Current Opinion in Psychiatry: January 2014 - Volume 27 - Issue 1 - p 57–61
doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000025
PERSONALITY DISORDERS: Edited by Aleksandar Janca and Charles Pull

Purpose of review To systematically review the recent studies which examined the co-occurrence and relationships between anxiety disorders and personality disorders.

Recent findings The prevalence rates of personality disorders in patients with anxiety disorders are high, with 35% in posttraumatic stress disorder, 47% in panic disorder with agoraphobia and generalized anxiety disorder, 48% in social phobia, and 52% in obsessive-compulsive disorder. There is a high rate (39%) of the DSM cluster C personality disorders among individuals with anxiety disorders. Moreover, anxiety disorders are highly prevalent in samples of people with personality disorders, especially borderline personality disorder (80–84.8%). Personality disorders co-occurring with anxiety disorders have a number of clinical implications, including an increased risk of suicide, greater severity of anxiety disorders, and negative impact on the treatment outcome of anxiety disorders.

Summary It is important for the clinicians to look for possible personality disorders among patients with anxiety disorders. Further studies need to ascertain how best to treat individuals suffering from both anxiety disorders and personality disorders and focus on the issue of causality when these conditions co-occur.

Clinic for Psychiatry, Clinical Center of Serbia and Belgrade University School of Medicine, Belgrade, Serbia

Correspondence to Milan Latas, Clinic for Psychiatry, Clinical Center of Serbia, Pasterova 2, 11 000 Belgrade, Serbia. Tel: +381 64 130 3993; fax: +381 11 2645 543; e-mail:

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins