Declaration of interest
Anxiety disorders and depression are the most common mental disorders worldwide and have a striking impact on global disease burden. Although depression has consistently been found to increase mortality; the role of anxiety disorders in predicting mortality risk is unclear.
To assess mortality risk in people with anxiety disorders.
We used nationwide Danish register data to conduct a prospective cohort study with over 30 million person-years of follow-up.
In total, 1066 (2.1%) people with anxiety disorders died during an average follow-up of 9.7 years. The risk of death by natural and unnatural causes was significantly higher among individuals with anxiety disorders (natural mortality rate ratio (MRR) = 1.39, 95% CI 1.28–1.51; unnatural MRR = 2.46, 95% CI 2.20–2.73) compared with the general population. Of those who died from unnatural causes, 16.5% had comorbid diagnoses of depression (MRR = 11.72, 95% CI 10.11–13.51).
Anxiety disorders significantly increased mortality risk. Comorbidity of anxiety disorders and depression played an important part in the increased mortality.
This study was supported by the Lundbeck Foundation, within the context of the Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, iPSYCH, and Mental Health in Primary Care (MEPRICA). S.M.M. received further funding from the Mental Health Services, Capital Region, Copenhagen, Denmark, and M.M. from the Stanley Medical Research Institute.
- © The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2016.
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