Description: You have probably heard the term comorbidity. It is defined as the extent to which two conditions or sets of symptoms appear together in the same person. Fear and anxiety, for example, often occur together, though we could say that may be because they are versions of the same thing. Personality disorders are also highly comorbid (60%) leading some psychologists to argue that their distinctions are not yet clear enough in the DSM. So what about depression and anxiety? What do you think their rate of comorbidity is? Also, can you think of other ways in which these two diagnostic categories might be related (other than being seen in the same person at the same time)? What are some other ways in which their symptoms might be related? After pondering these questions read the article linked below to see what the author found.
Source: How Depression and Anxiety go Hand-in-Hand, Lisa Esposito, Wellness, Health, US News.
Date: March 10, 2017
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Comorbidity may not be the best term to use when looking at the possible connections between mental disorder categories or symptom patterns like depression and anxiety. Perhaps it would be more productive to ask a more general question of how the two sets of symptoms relate to one another. That way we could consider neurological connections (as reflected by similar and different drug effects). As well, we could consider how cyclical factors related to mood states and reactions to life events might link symptom patterns as well. As noted in the article, positive reactions to similar drugs do not necessarily link disorders or symptom patterns, because some drugs may produce opposite effects. It is not enough to simply say we need more research. We DO need more research but we also have to remain aware of the indistinct boundaries or boundary areas around mental illness categories and/or symptom sets or patterns. Inevitably things in the areas of mental illness and related symptom patterns are more complicated than how we or the media suggests.
Questions for Discussion:
- Is anxiety a regular part of clinical depression?
- What are some of the ways that Depression and Anxiety might be related?
- What sorts of additional studies do we need to do to sort these symptom patterns and diagnostic categories out (or to what extent CAN we sort them out)?
References (Read Further):
Ruscio, A. M., & Khazanov, G. K. (2016). Anxiety and Depression. In The Oxford Handbook of Mood Disorders.
Washburn, D., Wilson, G., Roes, M., Rnic, K., & Harkness, K. L. (2016). Theory of mind in social anxiety disorder, depression, and comorbid conditions. Journal of anxiety disorders, 37, 71-77. http://www.queensu.ca/psychology/sites/webpublish.queensu.ca.psycwww/files/files/Faculty/Kate%20Harkness/Theory_of_mind_in_social_anxiety_disorder_depression_and_comorbid_condition.pdf
Martinsen, K. D., Kendall, P. C., Stark, K., & Neumer, S. P. (2016). Prevention of anxiety and depression in children: acceptability and feasibility of the transdiagnostic EMOTION program. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 23(1), 1-13. https://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11250/2431677/Martinsen_2016.pdf?sequence=5
Frennz, David A. Diagnostic comorbidity in DSM-5: Origins, current statues and solutions. PsychCentral, https://pro.psychcentral.com/diagnostic-comorbidity-in-dsm-5-origins-current-status-and-potential-solutions/0012774.html