Arthritis contributes to anxiety levels

People with arthritis may be more prone to anxiety and depression, a study has found.

Included in Arthritis Care and Research, which is published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology, it showed that one third of US adults over the age of 45 with arthritis experience at least one of these conditions. Anxiety was nearly twice as common as depression for people in this group.

Dr Louise Murphy with the Arthritis Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, US, said: "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."

She explained health care providers are missing an opportunity to boost the quality of life for arthritis sufferers, especially as so few of them actively seek mental health treatment.

Dr Lynn Dunwoody CPsychol, a Health Psychologist said: "There is a recognised link between pain and heightened levels of anxiety. Given that arthritis is associated with pain, lack of mobility and uncertainty about the course of the disease it is not surprising that individuals with arthritis have higher levels of anxiety than the general population.

"What is important about this research is that it highlights the unmet needs of people with arthritis and the importance of healthcare professionals addressing not just the physical symptoms, but also the psychosocial impact of the disease."