• psychiatry;
  • panic;
  • obsessive-compulsive;
  • social phobia;
  • specific phobia;
  • depression;
  • mania;
  • alcohol;
  • female


Anxiety disorders are commonly comorbid with bipolar disorder (BP) and may worsen course of illness, but differential impact of specific anxiety disorders in men and women remains unknown.


We measured the impact of comorbid panic disorder (PD), social phobia, specific phobia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in 460 women and 276 men with Bipolar I Disorder (BPI) or schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type from the National Institute of Mental Health Bipolar Genetics Initiative. We compared clinical characteristics in BPwith and without each anxiety disorder in men and women separately correcting for family relatedness.


Comorbid PD, OCD, and specific phobia were more common in women with BPthan men. Comorbid social phobia correlated with increased risk of alcohol abuse in BPwomen, but not men. Women with comorbid PDattended fewer years of school. Comorbidity with OCDwas associated with earlier age at the onset of BPfor both genders. Comorbid PD, OCD, and specific phobia were associated with more antidepressant trials in BP, across both genders, compared to BPpatients without these anxiety disorders.


In BP, comorbid anxiety disorders are associated with increased risk for functional impairment, and women had differently associated risks than men. Clinicians should be aware of an increased risk for comorbid PD, OCD, and specific phobia in women with BP, and an increased risk of alcohol abuse in women with BDand comorbid social phobia.