Arthritis Anxiety

Anxiety and depression are common among those suffering from arthritis

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Arthritis affects an estimated 50 million people in the United States alone. Physical joint pain may not be the only negative effect, psychological disorders may accompany arthritis as well.

About one in three Americans with arthritis also suffer from anxiety or depression, a new study claims.

Anxiety is more prevalent than depression, though, and most of those with depression also suffered from anxiety. Over half of these patients had not sought treatment for their psychological condition.

"Your mental health is very important - consider seeking professional help"

"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," says Louise Murphy, PhD, with the Arthritis Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.

"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."

The researchers selected individuals who had previously responded to the CDC’s Arthritis Conditions and Health Effects Survey. The survey studied people 45 and older who suffer from arthritis symptoms.

There were 1,793 participants selected by the researchers. Each participant had been diagnosed with arthritis or other rheumatic condition.

The anxiety and depression levels of participants was measured using emotional wellbeing questions from the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales, a test designed specifically to measure the impact of arthritis on patients.

The team found that 31 percent of arthritis sufferers also showed signs of anxiety disorder and 18 percent showed signs of depression. However, 84 percent of those with depression also showed signs of anxiety.

The researchers believe that anxiety is a commonly overlooked side effect of arthritis, and that health care providers should recommend mental health screenings for all who are diagnosed.

The study was published online April 30th, 2012, in the journal Arthritis Care & Research and was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 25, 2012
Last Updated:
May 10, 2012