Health Concerns Common in Anxiety Disorders

Article excerpt

CHICAGO -- Health anxiety is a prominent feature of all types of anxiety disorders, Jonathan S. Abramowitz, Ph.D., reported at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.

"Health concerns are present across the anxiety disorders," said Dr. Abramowitz, professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and director of the obsessive-compulsive disorder/anxiety disorder treatment and research program there.

To examine how health anxiety manifests in patients with an anxiety disorder, the researchers conducted a study of 157 adults who were patients at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where Dr. Abramowitz previously worked. In addition to determining the prevalence of health anxiety in this group of patients, Dr. Abramowitz and his colleagues examined relationships between health anxiety and the types of symptoms people with a specific anxiety disorder might experience.

Of the study participants, 49 had panic disorder, 32 had social phobia, 21 had generalized anxiety disorder, 18 had obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), 21 had hypochondriasis, and 16 had specific phobias. …