The 4 main comorbidities of generalized anxiety disorder

Most anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety disorder or social phobia, panic disorder, agoraphobia, or any specific type of phobia, are related to symptoms related to a bodily sensation, an external situation or to a specific stimulus. This is not the case, however, in the case of generalized anxiety disorder.

In the case of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), the symptoms are not triggered by any specific situation or stimulus, but occur without the person suffering from this disorder being able to detect which are the triggering situations of the symptoms, having a wide range of content among threat signals.

However, it should be noted that comorbidities in generalized anxiety disorder are common, that is, overlap between this disorder and others. In this article, we’ll take a look at the most important ones with a focus on mental health.

    Characteristics of generalized anxiety disorder

    Generalized anxiety disorder, according to the DSM-5 Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders, consists of symptoms of excessive worry and anxiety for at least 6 months and are associated with various activities and / or events. Likewise, the person has serious difficulty controlling their worries and anxiety symptoms, associating them with 3 or more of the following symptoms: restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, irritability, and sleep disturbances.

    It should also be noted that worry, anxiety, or physiological symptoms cause significant discomfort or difficulty in your day-to-day life (for example, academically, at work, among others). In addition, this disorder cannot be attributed to the side effects of a substance or other health problem and cannot be better explained by another mental disorder.

    Here are the most common comorbidities of generalized anxiety disorder.

      The most important comorbidities of generalized anxiety disorder

      There are clinical studies conducted on anxiety disorders that have found that About 80% of patients with an anxiety disorder have co-morbidities with another mental disorder.; in most cases, the second psychological disorder is another anxiety disorder, although they also overlap with depressive or personality disorders.

      In this regard, we will look at the most common comorbidities of generalized anxiety disorder.

      1. Comorbidity of GAD with other anxiety disorders

      The comorbidities of generalized anxiety disorder are often found in other anxiety disorders (eg, specific phobia, social phobia, agoraphobia, panic disorder, etc.).

      The high degree of neuroticism or emotional responsibility that is often found in patients with generalized anxiety disorder is often the primary factor. that support comorbidity with other anxiety disorders being associated with the temperament background of these patients.

      There are also studies that have shown that generalized anxiety disorder and other anxiety disorders have a number of environmental and genetic risk factors in common.

        2. TAG comorbidity with depressive disorders

        The second most common comorbidities of generalized anxiety disorder are those with other depressive disorders, such as major depressive disorder or dysthymia, it should be noted that there may also be a comorbidity between generalized anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder.

          3. Comorbidity of GAD with personality disorders

          The other comorbidities of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are those that occur when patients are diagnosed with GAD and also meet the criteria for a diagnosis of a personality disorder. especially obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder and borderline personality disorder.

          When there is a case in which there are possible comorbidities of generalized anxiety disorder with a personality disorder, the patient usually suffers from symptoms with a higher level of clinical severity than in the case of comorbidities with a disorder. generalized anxiety ‘anxiety or depression, the degree of negative interference in the various affected areas in the patient’s life is therefore also greater.

            4. Comorbidity of GAD with other conditions

            There have also been cases of comorbidities of generalized anxiety disorder with other conditions such as headaches or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), in which case usually occurs as a result of prolonged stress on the patient. .

              Main comorbidities of generalized anxiety disorder in adolescents

              Generalized anxiety disorder has a low percentage of cases among the teenage population; however, cases have also been found in these population groups, so it is important to highlight the comorbidities of generalized anxiety disorder in this age group.

              In Spain there is a study carried out among 962 participants aged 12 to 16 years in which it was found a prevalence of generalized anxiety disorder of 3% worldwide, with a prevalence of 2.4% in men and 3.7% in women.

              What was most striking was that generalized anxiety disorder comorbidities were found in 58% of cases with this disorder, the most common being that these comorbidities occurred with another anxiety disorder in the together, with 48.3%, which represents almost half of the cases of generalized anxiety. disorder.

              Other generalized anxiety disorder comorbidities found in the study should also be noted. It was first found that with the anxiety disorder there was a comorbidity of 20.7%; with the difficult opposition disorder, a comorbidity of 10.3% was found; with certain anxiety disorders in isolation, and not in general, as is the case with agoraphobia, specific phobia, separation anxiety and social phobia, the results revealed a comorbidity of 13.8% with each disorder .

              Eating disorders (ADD) were found to be associated with 13.8% of generalized anxiety disorder; with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) a comorbidity of 13.8% was also observed, as was the case with difficult opposition disorder; with obsessive-compulsive disorder and also with major depressive episode, both were found to have comorbidity with a GAD of 6.9%; and finally, the least comorbidity observed with GAD was the case of conduct disorders, with 3.4%.

                Interference caused by comorbidities of generalized anxiety disorder

                When comorbidities of generalized anxiety disorder occur, as well as when it occurs in isolation, those who suffer from it often suffer a series of negative consequences by interfering in a very important way in their daily life, because it affects several areas of the body. daily life (for example, work, academy, interpersonal relationships, health care …).

                High levels of pathological concern often drain a person’s time and energy.. Also, other symptoms related to the disorder such as muscle tension, nervousness, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping or fatigue often contribute to the interference of the disorder in this diversity of areas of the patient’s life, increasing all of these problems and having one another when the comorbidities of generalized anxiety disorder occur in the same person.

                On the other hand, the comorbidity between this disorder and others is associated with a high number of cases of sick leave and high levels of distractions, which in clinical and medical psychology is known as a prolonged state of stress. psychological associated with suffering. or distress; in situations like this the patient fails to adapt to a number of factors that he considers threatening and which may have been exacerbated by these comorbidities of anxiety disorder generalized.

                Factors directly related to a poorer prognosis for TAG

                Factors that lie directly related to a worse long-term forecast Some people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) include:

                • Most serious when there are comorbidities of generalized anxiety disorder with personality disorders.
                • Comorbidities of generalized anxiety disorder with other anxiety and / or depressive disorders.
                • When there are high levels of neuroticism.
                • When the symptoms of GAD have high levels of severity.
                • Have a low socio-economic status.
                • Have a bad social adaptation.
                • Not having a job.

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