Anxiety linked to Arthritis, Dr. Elizabeth Lin

Many people with arthritis also have depression; this has been known for many years. Now it has been established that anxiety is even more common than depression among arthritis patients, in a study published in Arthritis Care & Research by authors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In this podcast, Dr. Elizabeth Lin (who was not involved with the CDC study, but has focused on comorbid depression and pain for many years) discusses why and how the mental health problem as well as the physical symptoms need to be addressed and resolved. CBD has been known to decrease anxiety and depression levels as well as battle against pain, it could be useful being a combatant against anxiety and arthritis at the same time, if you’re slightly interested you could have a look at this select CBD review here before making your judgement.

Depression affects roughly one in six older Americans, while four out of five suffer degenerative joint disease after age 70, according to the study in the newest issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Older people treated for depression with medication and therapy not only showed fewer symptoms of that depression after a year, but their arthritis symptoms eased as well, the study showed.

They had less pain and less interference with daily activities due to arthritis, it showed.

The researchers found that one-third of the survey participants reported having either anxiety or depression, and that 84% of the patients with depression also had anxiety. On average, 31% of the participants had anxiety and 18% had depression.

“This was a very interesting, somewhat unexpected benefit of depression treatment. This was not something that we knew we would find,” said Dr. Elizabeth Lin, the study’s lead author.

Given there is no known cure for arthritis, “it was nice, encouraging news,” she said. “We were just so delighted to see improvement in the arthritis area.”

Dr. Lin is a family medicine physician at Group Health Institute and clinical professor of psychiatry at University of Washington Medical School in Seattle.

One-third of US adults aged 45 years and older with arthritis report having anxiety or depression, according to CDC researchers. Although there has been a stronger clinical focus on depression, anxiety is nearly twice as common in patients with arthritis, they noted. The findings are reported in Arthritis Care & Research, an American College of Rheumatology publication.

For the study, the researchers selected patients who were previous responders to the CDC’s Arthritis Conditions and Health Effects Survey, a representative population of older US adults with arthritis symptoms, and identified 1793 participants with doctor-diagnosed arthritis or other rheumatologic conditions. They assessed anxiety and depression using the emotional well-being questions from the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales.

Anxiety and depression were reported by 31% and 18% of the patients, respectively. One-third of the patients reported having at least 1 of the conditions, and 84% of those who had depression also had anxiety. No specific profile of characteristics for those with either mental health condition was apparent. Only half of the patients with arthritis and anxiety or depression had sought mental health treatment in the previous year.

Anxiety often is under-recognized and undertreated and until recently was overlooked as a potential risk factor for depression, it was noted. The researchers recommended that given the high prevalence of anxiety and depression in patients with arthritis and the effective treatment options that are available, all patients with arthritis be screened for these mental health conditions.

Dr. Elizabeth Lin

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