Anxiety as a Disabling Disease

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Anxiety disorders cause substantial disability in mental and role functioning. The degree of disability was shown in the Medical Outcomes Study, in which the health related quality of life of patients with panic disorder was compared to patients with other chronic medical illnesses (hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, chronic lung problems) as well as other psychiatric disorders (major depression) (Sherbourne et al., 1996). Patients with panic disorder had levels of role functioning that were substantially lower than patients with other major medical illnesses but were higher or comparable to patients with depression. In contrast, physical functioning and self-perception of current health in panic patients were similar to that of patients with hypertension and the general population (Sherbourne et al., 1996).

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