“Why Anxiety is So Common for Those Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder” by Natasha Tracy

19 Oct
From bipolar.answers.com:

Anxiety disorders are very common in people with bipolar disorder. In fact, in a major study (the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD)), lifetime prevalence for a comorbid anxiety disorder reached 51.2% while rates for a current anxiety disorder reached 30.5%. It may be that anxiety is, inherently, a part of some people’s experience of bipolar or it may be entirely comorbid. Anxiety disorders are also known to exist even when the bipolar disorder is subsyndromal (with less that clinical symptoms).

People with bipolar disorder have been shown to frequently suffer from more anxiety subtypes as well. People with bipolar disorder commonly also experience generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, simple phobia, social phobia, posttraumatic stress disorder, and panic disorder. (Note: Obsessive-compulsive disorder will no longer be considered an anxiety disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5; rather it is considered its own type of disorder.)

What is An Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety disorders come in many shapes and sizes (subtypes) and each type comes with its own list of symptoms. Symptoms of an anxiety disorder can include:

– Sleep disturbance

– Palpitations

– Trembling

– Chest pain

– Dizziness

– Feeling of detachment from the surroundings and from others

– Difficulty concentrating

– Exaggerated startle response

– And many others See: Symptoms of Anxiety Subtypes

What Impact Does an Anxiety Disorder Have on Bipolar?

Anxiety tends to have a worsening effect on bipolar disorder course and treatment. Bipolar symptoms appear to be intensified when anxiety is present. Those with comorbid anxiety also appear to have a lower age of disease onset, decreased response to standard treatments like lithium, increased rates of suicide and substance abuse, and a decreased quality of life. Impacts of anxiety disorder with existing bipolar disorder can be seen at school, work, and home.

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