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Increased mortality among people with anxiety disorders: total population study

  • Sandra M. Meier (a1), Manuel Mattheisen (a2), Ole Mors (a3), Preben B. Mortensen (a4), Thomas M. Laursen (a4) and Brenda W. Penninx (a5)...



Anxiety disorders and depression are the most common mental disorders worldwide and have a striking impact on global disease burden. Although depression has consistently been found to increase mortality; the role of anxiety disorders in predicting mortality risk is unclear.


To assess mortality risk in people with anxiety disorders.


We used nationwide Danish register data to conduct a prospective cohort study with over 30 million person-years of follow-up.


In total, 1066 (2.1%) people with anxiety disorders died during an average follow-up of 9.7 years. The risk of death by natural and unnatural causes was significantly higher among individuals with anxiety disorders (natural mortality rate ratio (MRR) = 1.39, 95% CI 1.28–1.51; unnatural MRR= 2.46, 95% CI 2.20–2.73) compared with the general population. Of those who died from unnatural causes, 16.5% had comorbid diagnoses of depression (MRR = 11.72, 95% CI 10.11–13.51).


Anxiety disorders significantly increased mortality risk. Comorbidity of anxiety disorders and depression played an important part in the increased mortality.

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Corresponding author

Sandra M. Meier, National Centre for Register-Based Research, Aarhus University, Fuglesangs Allé 4, 8210 Aarhus V, Denmark. Email:


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Increased mortality among people with anxiety disorders: total population study

  • Sandra M. Meier (a1), Manuel Mattheisen (a2), Ole Mors (a3), Preben B. Mortensen (a4), Thomas M. Laursen (a4) and Brenda W. Penninx (a5)...
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