[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 30-Apr-2012
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One-third of adult Americans with arthritis battle anxiety or depression

Anxiety more common than depression among people with arthritis

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that one-third of U.S. adults with arthritis, 45 years and older, report having anxiety or depression. According to findings that appear today in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), anxiety is nearly twice as common as depression among people with arthritis, despite more clinical focus on the latter mental health condition.

In the U.S. 27 million individuals, 25 years of age and older, have doctor diagnosed osteoarthritis (OA) and 1.3 adults have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) according to prevalence data from the ACR. The CDC estimates that all forms of arthritis affect 50 million Americans and is the leading cause of disability nationwide. Previous studies have reported depression is common among those with chronic illnesses such as arthritis. However, experts suggest that anxiety is often under-recognized and under-treated, and until recently was overlooked as a potential risk factor for depression.

The present study, led by Dr. Louise Murphy with the Arthritis Program at the CDC in Atlanta, Ga., selected individuals who were previous responders to the CDC's Arthritis Conditions and Health Effects Survey—a representative population of U.S. adults 45 years or older with arthritis symptoms. Researchers identified 1,793 participants with doctor-diagnosed arthritis or other rheumatic conditions. Anxiety and depression were assessed using the emotional wellbeing questions from the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales.

Results reveal that anxiety was more common than depression in this population at 31% and 18%, respectively. Moreover, one-third of respondents reported at least one of the two conditions, and 84% of those with depression also had anxiety. Researchers did not uncover a specific profile of characteristics for those with either mental health condition. However, only half of participants with anxiety or depression arthritis sought mental health treatment in the prior year.

"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," said Dr. Murphy. "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."

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This study is published in Arthritis Care & Research. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact healthnews@wiley.com.

Full citation: "Anxiety is more Common than Depression Among US Adults with Arthritis." Louise B. Murphy, Jeffrey J Sacks, Teresa J Brady, Jennifer M Hootman and Daniel P. Chapman. Arthritis Care and Research; Published Online: April 30, 2012 (DOI: 10.1002/acr.21685).

Author Contact: To arrange an interview with Dr. Murphy, please contact Sher're Walton with the CDC at fov6@cdc.gov.

About the Journal:

Arthritis Care & Research is an official journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), and the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP), a division of the College. Arthritis Care & Research is a peer-reviewed research publication that publishes both original research and review articles that promote excellence in the clinical practice of rheumatology. Relevant to the care of individuals with arthritis and related disorders, major topics are evidence-based practice studies, clinical problems, practice guidelines, health care economics, health care policy, educational, social, and public health issues, and future trends in rheumatology practice. The journal is published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). For more information, please visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)2151-4658.

About Wiley-Blackwell:

Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world's leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit http://www.wileyblackwell.com or our online platform, Wiley Online Library (http://www.wileyonlinelibrary.com), one of the world's most extensive multidisciplinary collections of online resources, covering life, health, social and physical sciences, and humanities.



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