Approximately one in three Arthritis sufferers also battle depression and anxiety, according to a new study put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, anxiety is nearly twice as prevalent as depression for those who suffer from the most common disability in America.
Study author D. Louise Murphy, who works with the CDC’s arthritis program, stated:
“What we ultimately took away is that we’ve usually thought of arthritis as a condition that can have such profound disabling consequences. But what came out here is how profound the emotional consequences are. This is a call to action.”
The study was published on Monday in Arthritis Care and Research, where Murphy and her co-researchers looked at over 1,700 adults who had been diagnosed with either arthritis or another rheumatic condition (including osteoarthritis, the most prevalent joint disorder).
In order to gather research, each participant was given a questionnaire to determine their mental health state.
The results were reportedly unexpected for the researchers, as they realized that more than one third of the participants, age 45 or over, admitted that they suffered from at least one of the two mental health conditions (anxiety and depression).
They expected to see depression, but they were surprised that anxiety was almost twice as high as depression in arthritis sufferers. Murphy explained:
“The proportion of people with anxiety was almost twice as high as [the amount with] depression. That was a surprise because both in the clinical world and among arthritis researchers, there’s so much more attention paid to depression.”
Dr. Eric Gall, interim director of the University of Arizona’s Arthritis Center, states that “It makes perfect sense.” He goes on to explain:
“These people have chronic pain, and that breeds depression. They’re frightened about the disease, they’re frightened about being crippled and not being able to do things. They have problems with their marriages and jobs and so forth.”
Dr. Murphy also recommends that patients who have arthritis are screened for both depression and anxiety. She explains:
“Given their high prevalence and the effective treatment options that are available, we suggest that all people with arthritis be screened for anxiety and depression. With so many arthritis patients not seeking mental health treatment, health care providers are missing an intervention opportunity that could improve the quality of life for those with arthritis.”
Check out the video that explains arthritis: