Introduction of Co-Occurring Anxiety Disorder and Bipolar Disorder

It is not uncommon to see a diagnosis of both an Anxiety Disorder and Bipolar Disorder.  According to, “Making a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder plus bipolar disorder can be confusing, and it is best to seek help from a mental health professional.”  This article will describe some of the signals to observe for, if individuals might be developing an Anxiety Disorder plus Bipolar Disorder.  It will also describe some treatment methods for this co-occurring disorder.

What To Look For

According to, the following may be present if an Anxiety Disorder and Bipolar Disorder is present:

Dr. Simon says, a few clues may suggest the presence of both an anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder:

  • The presence of panic attacks, significant anxiety, nervousness, worry, or fearful avoidance of activities in addition to periods of depression and mania or hypomania.
  • The development of symptoms as a child or young adult, which people with both disorders are more likely to report.
  • Significant problems with sleep and persistent anxiety even when not in a manic state, and lack of response to initial treatment.
  • Increased sensitivity to initial side effects of medication, and sometimes a longer time frame for finding the right medication combination and dosing.

How Do You Treat A Co-Occurring Anxiety Disorder And Bipolar Disorder?


According to, the following can be stated about the treatment of medication for this co-occurring disorder:

When treating a co-occurring anxiety and bipolar disorder with medication, most doctors first prescribe a mood stabilizer to address the bipolar disorder.  Starting an antidepressant (a common medication approach for anxiety disorders) before mood stabilization is achieved may worsen the bipolar disorder symptoms. However, an antidepressant can trigger manic episodes, even while taking a mood stabilizer.  For this reason, doctors sometimes avoid prescribing antidepressants or prescribe them at a low dose for patients with co-occurring disorders, and they monitor carefully any patients who are taking a mood stabilizer and an antidepressant.


According to, the following information can be stated about using different types of therapy for the treatment of a co-occurring Anxiety Disorder and Bipolar Disorder:

Relaxation Techniques. These techniques may help people develop the ability to cope more effectively with the stresses that contribute to anxiety and mood, as well as with any associated physical symptoms. Breathing re-training, progressive muscle relaxation, and exercise are among the techniques.

Using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or another evidence-based psychotherapy instead of medication for an anxiety disorder addresses concerns about side effects from taking mood stabilizers with anti-anxiety medications.

Family Therapy. This form of therapy uses strategies to reduce the level of distress within a family that may either contribute to an ill person’s symptoms or result from them.


To summarize, this article has provided readers with triggers for the development of an Anxiety Disorder and Bipolar Disorder, as well as different types of treatment methods for an Anxiety Disorder and Bipolar Disorder.