In 2018, psychiatrist Oleguer Plana-Ripoll was wrestling with a puzzling fact about mental disorders. He knew that many individuals have multiple conditions — anxiety and depression, say, or schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He wanted to know how common it was to have more than one diagnosis, so he got his hands on a database containing the medical details of around 5.9 million Danish citizens.
He was taken aback by what he found. Every single mental disorder predisposed the patient to every other mental disorder — no matter how distinct the symptoms. “We knew that comorbidity was important, but we didn’t expect to find associations for all pairs,” says Plana-Ripoll, who is based at Aarhus University in Denmark.
“A meta-analysis of 193 brain-imaging studies shows similar gray-matter loss in the brains of people with diagnoses as different as schizophrenia, depression and addiction…The findings call into question a longstanding tendency to distinguish psychiatric disorders chiefly by their symptoms rather than their underlying brain pathology. [Read more…] about Q: What do people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety have in common? A: A brain with similar gray-matter loss