Can An Anxiety Disorder Be Associated With Any Medical Conditions?

Dr. Srini Pillay answers the question: 'Medical Conditions & Anxiety Disorders?'

— -- Question: Can an anxiety disorder be associated with any medical conditions?

Answer: Anxiety disorders may be associated with a variety of medical conditions, and the ways in which they can be associated with those conditions include mimicking the symptoms of those conditions, causing those conditions, or being the result of those conditions.

The medical conditions that may be associated with anxiety disorders include the heart, where people who have chronic heart disease have an increased prevalence of anxiety disorders and people who have arrhythmias such as super-ventricular arrhythmias or ventricular arrhythmias -- these people also have an increased chance of having anxiety disorders.

In addition to the heart, other systems may also be affected and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may also have anxiety disorders. Hypoglycemia and electrolyte abnormalities may also be conditions in which there are anxiety symptoms. And migraine headaches and seizures may also present with anxiety disorders.

One of the interesting findings that we know recently, is that anxiety disorders may also be associated with obesity and that post traumatic disorder specifically may be associated with obesity. More rarely, tumors such as pheochromacytoma, which are tumors of the adrenal gland, may also present with anxiety symptoms.

Thyroid disease is one of those conditions that may present as an anxiety syndrome. In fact, research has shown that anxiety disorders may actually precede the actual onset of hyperthyroidism, which is an increase in thyroid hormone.

In addition to these major medical conditions, other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia may also present as anxiety disorders.

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