One-third of Americans ages 45 and over who have arthritis also suffer from anxiety or depression, according to a new study conducted by researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The findings also showed that although anxiety is almost twice as common as depression in arthritis patients, physicians tend to focus more on depression.
The study involved nearly 1,800 individuals with arthritis or another rheumatic condition who had taken part in the CDC’s Arthritis Conditions and Health Effects Survey. Of these participants, 31 percent reported anxiety and 18 percent reported depression.
One-third of the patients suffered with at least one of the two conditions and 84 percent of those with depression had anxiety as well. Only half of the patients with anxiety or depression sought mental health treatment in the previous year, according to the study.
“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 study leader Dr. Louise Murphy of the Arthritis Program at the CDC.
“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,” she added.
According to the American College of Rheumatology, 27 million Americans age 25 and older have osteoarthritis, and 1.3 million adults have rheumatoid arthritis.
The study is published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.