Comorbidity

Comorbidities are when a person has more than one disorder. Comorbid (meaning co-existing) anxiety and depressive disorders are defined as a person who has both social anxiety disorder (SAD) and major depressive disorder (MDD).

Physical illness such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, infectious diseases, and dementia are examples of comorbid conditions. Eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse are examples of mental health illnesses that frequently show comorbidity.

Comorbidity in mental illness can refer to a condition in which a person obtains a medical diagnosis followed by a mental disorder diagnosis (or vice versa), or it can refer to a mental disorder diagnosis followed by another mental disorder diagnosis.

National epidemiological research of comorbid problems in mental health in Spain, observed almost half of the 7936 adult patients had several psychiatric disorders. Furthermore, according to the National Comorbidity Survey in the United States, 51% of patients with serious depression also had at least one anxiety disorder. Only 26% of them did not have any other mental health issues.

Comorbidity can be treated well with the help of healthcare professionals. When a social anxiety condition is left untreated for a long time, a person may develop depression and/or substance abuse as a result of the anxiety symptoms. So early detection and treatment of one ailment may help to prevent the emergence of comorbidities.

Coordination between primary care physicians and mental health experts is critical in preventing comorbid illnesses on a larger scale.

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