Anxiety levels linked with physical illness

Patients diagnosed with an anxiety disorder are more likely to develop chronic physical conditions, according to a Canadian study has shown.

The study included data from 4,181 German patients aged 18 to 65 years who took part in a health survey carried out between 1997 and 1999.

They completed a questionnaire giving medical details and had a physical examination.

The patients also underwent psychiatric assessment to identify anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, social phobia, specific phobia, generalised anxiety disorder, agoraphobia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The researchers found that the 429 patients diagnosed with an anxiety disorder were over 40 per cent more likely to have thyroid disease, respiratory illness, GI disease, arthritis, migraine headaches and allergic conditions.

Arch Intern Med 2006; 166: 2,109–16

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