Chronic Medical Conditions in a Sample of the General Population with Anxiety, Affective, and Substance Use Disorders

Published in: American Journal of Psychiatry, v. 146, no.11, Nov. 1989, p. 1440-1446

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1989

by Kenneth B. Wells, Jacqueline M. Golding, M. Audrey Burnam

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The authors studied the prevalence of eight chronic medical conditions in an adult population sample (N = 2,554) with and without psychiatric disorders. Adjusted for age and sex, the prevalence of any lifetime chronic medical condition for persons with any lifetime affective, anxiety, or substance use disorder was 61.4%, 57.1%, and 57.7%, respectively. Each of these percentages was significantly higher than that for persons with no lifetime psychiatric disorder (53.4%). Both lifetime affective and anxiety disorders were uniquely associated with a greater prevalence of any lifetime chronic medical condition, but the only psychiatric disorders uniquely associated with current (i.e., active) chronic medical conditions were anxiety disorders, suggesting that the association between anxiety disorders and chronic medical conditions develops more quickly than associations between medical conditions and other psychiatric disorders.

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