The mental health of Australians 2

7.1 Mental disorder comorbidity

Page last updated: May 2009

People often experienced more than one class of mental disorder with one quarter (25.4%) of people with mental disorders experiencing two or more classes of mental disorders in the 12 months prior to interview (Table 7-1). A small proportion (3.5%) of people with mental disorders experienced all three classes of mental disorder (affective, anxiety and substance use disorders) in the previous 12 months.

Table 7-1: Prevalence of 12-month mental disorder comorbidity in the total population and in people with 12-month mental disorders

Total population (%)

12-month disorder (%)

No disorder
80.0
-
One disorder class
14.9
74.6
Two disorder classes
4.4
21.9
Three disorder classes
0.7
3.5
Any mental disorder
20.0
-

7.1.1 Prevalence of mental disorder comorbidity by sex

The proportions of the population with comorbid mental disorders are shown in Figure 7-1 and Figure 7-2 for males and females respectively.

Affective and anxiety disorders were the most common form of comorbidity for both sexes, with females almost twice as likely as males to experience this type of comorbidity (2.0% in males and 3.9% in females). The next most common comorbidity for both sexes was substance use disorders in combination with anxiety disorders (1.3% in males and 0.8% in females).

The prevalence of comorbid mental disorders from all three classes was similar for males and females (0.8% and 0.6% respectively).Top of page

Figure 7-1: Prevalence of comorbid 12-month affective, anxiety and substance use disorders in males



Text version of figure 7-1

Anxiety disorders 6.7%
Affective disorders 1.9%
Substance use disorders 4.3%
Anxiety disorders and affective disorders 2.0%
Anxiety disorders and substance use disorders 1.3%
Affective disorders and substance use disorders 0.6%
Anxiety disorders and affective disorders and substance use disorders 0.8% Top of page

Figure 7-2: Prevalence of comorbid 12-month affective, anxiety and substance use disorders in females



Text version of figure 7-2

Anxiety disorders 12.6%
Affective disorders 2.5%
Substance use disorders 1.7%
Anxiety disorders and affective disorders 3.9%
Anxiety disorders and substance use disorders 0.8%
Affective disorders and substance use disorders 0.2%
Anxiety disorders and affective disorders and substance use disorders 0.6%