Studies have shown that patients with schizophrenia often have what is called a comorbid anxiety disorder, or an anxiety disorder that exists simultaneously with their schizophrenia. According to schizophrenic.com, 30 to 85 percent of individuals with schizophrenia or other related disorders has struggled with anxiety at some point in their lifetimes.
Even though they are related and can exist simultaneously, diagnosing anxiety within schizophrenic patients is difficult for a number of reasons.
First, anxiety may come on suddenly and spontaneously along with the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. It could also be a direct response to psychotic episodes. On the other hand, it may come and go along with the psychosis. It might, however, be an adverse side effect caused by antipsychotic drugs used to treat schizophrenia.
The most common anxiety disorders found in patients with schizophrenia include social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Social anxiety disorder, or SAD, is found in 10 to 20 percent of schizophrenic patients. Since people with schizophrenia tend to distance themselves from others as it is, developing SAD can be particularly crippling to these individuals. These patients are even more likely to become reclusive, withdraw from others, and have an even harder time functioning socially.
Unfortunately, patients with SAD are more likely to commit suicide because they may experience feelings of deep loneliness. For this reason, doctors should be made aware of symptoms of SAD in people with schizophrenia so they may help the patient combat these suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been found in 15 percent of people with schizophrenia. These individuals have difficulty thinking clearly, functioning socially, and using basic motor skills.
Panic disorders are incredibly harmful to patients with schizophrenia as individuals who experience both are more likely to commit suicide than schizophrenic patients who do not show panic symptoms.
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of an anxiety disorder along with schizophrenia, do not hesitate to reach out. We are here to help you.