Comorbid anxiety disorders and alcohol-related disorders in a population of bipolar I disorder: investigation in a Flemish population
background Bipolar I disorder (bp i) is a very debilitating psychiatric disorder which is frequently associated with comorbid psychiatric and somatic disorders. Many studies in other countries show strongly elevated prevalences of anxiety disorders and alcohol-related disorders in the bp i population, but so far no data on this topic are available with regard to the Flemish population.
aim To determine the prevalence of anxiety disorders and alcohol-related disorders in a Flemish population of bp i outpatients in remission and to find out whether comorbidity of these disorders is linked to the onset of the disorder at a younger age.
method Sixty-nine bp i patients in remission were given structured interviews at home and the results were compared with the Belgian prevalence reported in the European Study of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders (esemed) project.
results Both the prevalence of the alcohol-related disorders (15 of 69 patients or 21.7%) and the prevalence of anxiety disorders (17 patients or 24.6%) were elevated compared to the general population (8.1 and 13.2% respectively). Among the anxiety disorders the prevalence was elevated for panic disorder, social phobia and post-traumatic stress disorder. No significant association was found between the comorbidity and the patient's age at the onset of the illness.
conclusion The prevalence of anxiety disorders and alcohol-related disorders in an outpatient population of Flemish patients with bp i in remission is elevated.