A Third of Adults With Arthritis Have Anxiety, Depression

Anxiety more prevalent than depression among U.S. adults with arthritis

TUESDAY, May 1 (HealthDay News) -- One-third of U.S. adults with physician-diagnosed arthritis report having anxiety or depression, with anxiety more prevalent than depression, according to a study published online May 1 in Arthritis Care & Research.

To assess the prevalence of anxiety and depression among U.S. adults with arthritis, Louise B. Murphy, Ph.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed responses from a sample of 1,793 adults (aged ≥45 years) with doctor-diagnosed arthritis participating in the Arthritis Condition and Health Effects Survey. Separate and validated subscales of the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales were used to measure anxiety and depression.

The researchers found that a third of respondents reported having anxiety and/or depression, with anxiety more prevalent than depression (31 versus 18 percent). Most respondents with depression also had anxiety (84 percent). Only half of respondents with either condition sought help in the past year.

"Despite the clinical focus on depression among people with arthritis, anxiety was almost twice as common as depression," the authors write. "Given their high prevalence, profound impact on quality of life, and range of effective treatments available, we encourage health care providers to screen all people with arthritis for both anxiety and depression."

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