Background: Major depressive disorder (MDD) has shown to cause high costs to society. Earlier research indicates that generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) also causes high costs, but only limited data is available in varying settings.
Aims: To analyse the secondary care costs of GAD compared with those of MDD.
Methods: Retrospective database analysis from Finnish Hospital Discharge Registers (FHDR). All GAD and MDD patients diagnosed between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2007 in FHDR were recorded and individual-level secondary care costs during a 48-month follow-up period were measured.
Results: The total mean cost of GAD with history of MDD or some other anxiety disorder was significantly higher than that of MDD with history of GAD or some other anxiety disorder during the 48-month follow-up period. The costs of pure GAD were comparable with those of pure MDD, but after adjusting for age and sex, the costs of pure MDD were higher than those of pure GAD.
Conclusions: The economic burden of individual GAD patients is comparable with that of MDD patients in secondary care.
Keywords: Anxiety disorders; comorbidity; cost analysis; generalized anxiety disorder; major depressive disorder.