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Original research
Prevalences of comorbid anxiety disorder and daily smartphone-based self-reported anxiety in patients with newly diagnosed bipolar disorder

Abstract

Background Around 40% of patients with bipolar disorder (BD) additionally have anxiety disorder. The prevalence of anxiety in patients with newly diagnosed BD and their first-degree relatives (UR) has not been investigated.

Objective

To investigate (1) the prevalence of a comorbid anxiety diagnosis in patients with newly diagnosed BD and their UR, (2) sociodemographic and clinical differences between patients with and without a comorbid anxiety diagnosis and (3) the association between smartphone-based patient-reported anxiety and observer-based ratings of anxiety and functioning, respectively.

Methods We recruited 372 patients with BD and 116 of their UR. Daily smartphone-based data were provided from 125 patients. SCAN was used to assess comorbid anxiety diagnoses.

Findings In patients with BD, the prevalence of a comorbid anxiety disorder was 11.3% (N=42) and 10.3% and 5.9% in partial and full remission, respectively. In UR, the prevalence was 6.9%. Patients with a comorbid anxiety disorder had longer illness duration (p=0.016) and higher number of affective episodes (p=0.011). Smartphone-based patient-reported anxiety symptoms were associated with ratings of anxiety and impaired functioning (p<0.001).

Limitations The SCAN interviews to diagnose comorbid anxiety disorder were carried out regardless of the participants’ mood state.

Clinical implications

The lower prevalence of anxiety in newly diagnosed BD than in later stages of BD indicates that anxiety increases with progression of BD. Comorbid anxiety seems associated with poorer clinical outcomes and functioning and smartphones are clinically useful for monitoring anxiety symptoms.

Trial registration number ClinicalTrials.gov Registry (NCT02888262).

  • anxiety disorders
  • depression & mood disorders
  • adult psychiatry

Data availability statement

No data are available. The study is ongoing; therefore, the research data are not shared.

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