Anxious with Arthritis

Anxiety twice as common as depression in arthritis patients

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) The pain of arthritis can seem ever-present. Eventually, that pain can become more than physical; it can dampen your day and sour your mood.

Arthritis patients can be affected by both anxiety and depression; though, anxiety appears to be twice as common as depression in these patients.

"Seek your doctor's help if you're battling depression."

Researchers have focused little on the burden of anxiety and depression among adults with arthritis, according to Louise B. Murphy, PhD, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and colleagues.

Anxiety disorders especially have received little attention, leading Dr. Murphy and colleagues to study these mental health problems in people with arthritis.

Out of 1,793 arthritis patients, one-third said they had either anxiety or depression.

Anxiety was more common than depression, with 31 percent reporting anxiety and 18 percent reporting depression.

A majority of patients with depression (84 percent) also had anxiety.

Unfortunately, only half of patients with anxiety or depression sought help for their mental health problems.

"Despite the clinical focus on depression among people with arthritis, anxiety was almost twice as common as depression," the study's authors conclude.

They recommended that doctors screen their arthritis patients for these mental health conditions.

"Given their high prevalence, their profound impact on quality of life, and the range of effective treatments available, we encourage health care providers to screen all people with arthritis for both anxiety and depression," they wrote.

For their research, Dr. Murphy and colleagues measured anxiety and depression using the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales. All participants were at least 45-years-old.

The study is published in Arthritis Care & Research

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 1, 2012
Last Updated:
December 5, 2012