Personality disorders and anxiety disorders: what is the relationship?

Milan Latas, Srdjan Milovanovic
Current Opinion in Psychiatry 2014, 27 (1): 57-61

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To systematically review the recent studies which examined the co-occurrence and relationships between anxiety disorders and personality disorders.

RECENT FINDINGS: The prevalence rates of personality disorders in patients with anxiety disorders are high, with 35% in posttraumatic stress disorder, 47% in panic disorder with agoraphobia and generalized anxiety disorder, 48% in social phobia, and 52% in obsessive-compulsive disorder. There is a high rate (39%) of the DSM cluster C personality disorders among individuals with anxiety disorders. Moreover, anxiety disorders are highly prevalent in samples of people with personality disorders, especially borderline personality disorder (80-84.8%). Personality disorders co-occurring with anxiety disorders have a number of clinical implications, including an increased risk of suicide, greater severity of anxiety disorders, and negative impact on the treatment outcome of anxiety disorders.

SUMMARY: It is important for the clinicians to look for possible personality disorders among patients with anxiety disorders. Further studies need to ascertain how best to treat individuals suffering from both anxiety disorders and personality disorders and focus on the issue of causality when these conditions co-occur.


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