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Mental Health Issues Among Arthritis Patients

Sixty-three percent of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) also suffer from psychiatric disorders. The majority of these (87 percent) occur in the depressive spectrum.

The findings emanate from a new study presented today at the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Interestingly, over half (52 percent) of the patients studied indicated that they had experienced stress events before the onset of their RA.

The study also revealed a number of other interesting findings about the emotional burden of RA:

  • Cognitive dysfunction was diagnosed in 23 percent of patients, with 16 percent of this attributed to depression
  • A third suffered from sleep disorders
  • Those with depression also exhibited more severe RA (measured by X-ray), greater functional insufficiency and pain, as well as having received less aggressive treatment than patients without depression. (No significant differences in age, duration of illness, gender or standardized scores were noted between the two groups)
  • Significantly, cognitive impairments were found more often (p=0.02) in patients older than 50 years (39 percent vs. 9 percent)
  • The age of the first prednisone intake was significantly higher (p<0.05) in patients with depression compared to those without (48 vs. 30 years)

Dr Tatiana Lisitsyna from the State Institute of Rheumatology RAMS, Russian Federation, who conducted the study, said: “Psychiatric disorders are a very common comorbidity for people with RA, and they tend to be stress-related and associated with disease activity and chronic pain.

“Evaluating and addressing the mental health of those with RA should be a regular feature of rheumatology practice to improve quality of life and reduce the potentially distressing psychological burden of RA.”

Source: European League Against Rheumatism

Mental Health Issues Among Arthritis Patients

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Mental Health Issues Among Arthritis Patients. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 20, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/06/15/mental-health-issues-among-arthritis-patients/6516.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.