SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • depression;
  • anxiety disorders;
  • comorbidity

Abstract

This article reviews data on the prevalence of panic, social phobia, generalized anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder, and research documenting the comorbidity of these disorders with major depression (MDD). These anxiety disorders are frequently comorbid with MDD, and 50–60% of individuals with MDD report a lifetime history of one or more of these anxiety disorders. The anxiety disorders are also highly correlated with one another, and approximately one-quarter to one-half of individuals with each of the anxiety disorders report a lifetime history of an alcohol or substance use disorder. Anxiety disorders rarely exist in isolation, with several studies reporting that over 90% of individuals with anxiety disorders have a lifetime history of other psychiatric problems. Implications for research are discussed, including the potential benefit of using combined categorical and dimensional rating scale approaches in future genetic, biochemical, neuroimaging, and treatment studies. The clinical implications of the findings are also discussed, and the results of recent clinical trials summarized. Available data suggests selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the first-line pharmacological treatment for these disorders, and that newer serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors show significant promise, especially for comorbid cases. Comorbidity among depression and anxiety disorders is associated with greater symptom severity, and a considerably higher incidence of suicidality. Increased public awareness about these disorders and the availability of effective treatments is sorely needed. Depression and Anxiety, Volume 12, Supplement 1:69–76, 2000. Published 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.