To review recent studies which assess comorbidity, that is, prevalence of co-occurrence, relationships and treatment implications between anxiety disorders and various medical illnesses.
The prevalence rates of anxiety disorders in patients with medical illnesses are high, with percentage up to 29% in patients with epilepsy, 48.9% in patients with multiple sclerosis, 30.1% in patients with Parkinson's disease, 30% in patients with cardiovascular disease, 47.0% in patients with diabetes mellitus, and so on. The most prevalent anxiety disorders among individuals with somatic illnesses are generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. In addition, various medical illnesses are highly prevalent in samples of patients with anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders co-occurring with medical illnesses have a number of clinical implications, including a greater severity and negative impact on treatment outcome of both medical illnesses and anxiety disorders.
It is important for clinicians to look for possible anxiety disorders among patients with medical illnesses. Further studies need to ascertain how to best treat individuals suffering from both anxiety disorders and medical illnesses, and focus on the issue of causality when these conditions co-occur.
aBelgrade University School of Medicine and Clinic for Psychiatry, Clinical Center of Serbia
bSingidunum University, Faculty of Media and Communication, Department for Psychology and Clinical Center ‘Dr Dragisa Misovic- Dedinje’
cBelgrade University School of Medicine and Institute of Mental Health, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org