BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Several studies have shown a higher prevalence of somatic illnesses in patients with anxiety disorders, especially cardiopathy, pneumopathy, digestive diseases and cephalea. The aim of this study was to investigate the comorbidity between anxiety disorders and medical illnesses in a group of patients with anxiety disorders compared with patients without psychiatric disorder attended at a primary care clinic and with psychiatric patients without anxiety pathology. PATIENTS AND METHOD: Retrospective case-control study comparing 3 groups of patients paired by age and sex. The group of patients with anxiety disorders included 130 patients diagnosed by DSM-IV as panic disorders with/without agoraphobia and agoraphobia without panic attacks. There were 2 control groups: 150 patients without psychiatric disorder attended at primary care and 130 psychiatric patients without anxiety disorder attended at a psychiatric service. RESULTS: Patients with anxiety disorders showed higher risk of medical illnesses than patient without anxiety. Multivariate statistical logistic regression analysis showed that patients with anxiety presented 4.2-fold increase in the risk of cephalea, 3.9 of cardiopathy, 3.8 of osteomuscular disorder and 2-fold increase in the risk of digestive diseases. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with anxiety disorders presented higher risk of somatic illness. Similar physiopathology and genetic etiology could explain this association.
- Anxiety disorders
- Somatic illness