If you have a bipolar disorder (BD), there’s a chance you may also have another coexisting condition, known as a comorbid condition, or a comorbidity. In fact, you’d have a six-times greater chance of having an anxiety disorder in your lifetime.

 Forty-two percent of people who have BD also experience some kind of anxiety disorder, according to a recent meta-analysis of research. That’s why doctors will often screen for an anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder at the same time. 

 The tricky thing? Certain symptoms of anxiety disorders and bipolar can look the same, complicating a person’s presentation, treatment, and prognosis of both conditions. Having a comorbid anxiety disorder can also increase the likelihood for substance abuse and suicidal thoughts and behaviors, so watching out for the signs and symptoms is critical. 

 Read on for the six anxiety disorders that tend to show up alongside bipolar.

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Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear and occurs in about one in five individuals who have BD—more commonly in those with depressed and mixed states of bipolar. Physical symptoms include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, and stomach aches, and bipolar disorder can increase the likelihood of panic attacks.

Updated: Aug 5, 2020
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