Anxiety and Bipolar Disorder

Anxiety disorder is quite common in patients with bipolar disorder. In fact, researchers have found that more than half of people with bipolar disorder also suffer from anxiety.


There is no formal psychiatric definition of “anxiety disorder”. When using this term, people usually refer to a panic attack, and it does have a definition. In a panic attack, a person will suddenly feel intense fear, even to the point of fear, but there is no actual danger.

Some symptoms include rapid heartbeat, chest pain, sweating, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath or suffocation, tremors, and feelings of being out of reality.Many people who experience this kind of anxiety attack for the first time think they have a heart attack.

Some studies have shown that panic attacks are very common in patients with bipolar disorder.

The following is an overview of anxiety disorders that may occur at the same time as bipolar disorder. Therefore, they may cause various anxiety symptoms in BP patients, including panic attacks.

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Panic Disorder

In panic disorder, a person will have sudden and frequent panic attacks. Researchers found that approximately 16% of people with bipolar disorder also suffer from panic disorder.

If you are experiencing so-called anxiety disorders, take them seriously and talk to your mental health provider.

Agoraphobia is a strong fear that can develop in people with panic disorder. It can also occur without accompanying panic symptoms. Agoraphobia is afraid of being in any place that may cause or have difficulty avoiding an anxiety attack. Agoraphobia can be so severe that the patient refuses to leave his or her home.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

GAD is a condition characterized by physical symptoms of excessive worry and anxiety, which have been present for at least six months. Excessive worry is usually related to everyday situations.

This person has great difficulty in controlling anxiety and can cause serious pain or problems in daily life. To be diagnosed with GAD, there must be at least three additional symptoms of anxiety: irritability, muscle tension, fatigue, sleep disturbance, inattention, and irritability.

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People with GAD may also experience anxiety disorders. GAD has been widely reported to accompany bipolar disorder. However, more research is needed in this area.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a disease that develops after a traumatic event (such as rape, assault, disaster (natural or other), accident, or military battle). There are many symptoms of PTSD.

Some of the most common events are flashbacks of events, recurring nightmares, difficulty remembering all or part of the event, sleep disturbances, outbursts of anger, and strong negative reactions to reminders of the event. Symptoms must be present for more than a month to be diagnosed with PTSD.

More than one study has found that people with bipolar disorder often report having suffered childhood abuse (physical and/or sexual abuse).

In a study of this type of 330 veterans with bipolar disorder, most of them were men, and almost half of them had experienced some form of abuse when they were children. Therefore, it is not surprising that PTSD and bipolar disorder are often diagnosed together.

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Drug-induced anxiety

Some psychiatric drugs can cause anxiety symptoms as a side effect. Whenever you start taking a new medicine, check the accompanying literature so that you can identify side effects when they occur. If you do experience anxiety symptoms after starting a new treatment, please contact your doctor as soon as possible.