Objective: To assess the impact of anxiety comorbidity on the quality of life of patients with bipolar disorder (BD).
Methods: We undertook a cross-Sectional survey of 162 BD outpatients interviewed with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV. The primary outcome measure was quality of life, assessed with the 26-item WHO Quality of Life Instrument (WHOQOL-BREF).
Results: Anxiety comorbidity in BD patients was associated with lower scores in all domains of quality of life. The impact of anxiety comorbidity on the psychological domain of the WHOQOL-BREF was kept, even when the current level of depression was added to the model as a confounding factor. Current anxiety comorbidity was also associated with lifetime alcohol abuse and dependence, rapid cycling, lifetime psychosis, number of suicide attempts, and a lower score in the Global Assessment of Functioning measure.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that anxiety comorbidity in BD patients is related to lower quality of life, particularly on the psychological domain. BD-anxiety comorbidity may be associated with such markers of illness severity as number of suicide attempts, rapid cycling, lifetime alcohol abuse, and psychosis. The recognition and treatment of anxiety comorbidity may help patients with BD to relieve their psychological pain and improve their overall quality of life.