The Link Between Depression and Stomach, Anxiety and Skin Ailments

Posted 01/11/2017 | By HealthCorps

Psychologists have identified that arthritis and digestive disorders are more common in young adults who have suffered with depression.  Anxiety disorders among young people are often followed by skin conditions.

It’s not uncommon for people to have physical ailments during or after suffering from mental challenges.  Think about a moment when you may have experienced a “nervous stomach,” with digestive problems or stomach pain, while grappling with nervousness or anxiety before an exam or an important interview.  Science has found that physical conditions and mental disorders can be linked.  If these conditions associate or co-occur from childhood, then there can be lasting lifetime implications.

A new study looked at temporal patterns and the relationship between mental disorders and physical ailments in teens between the ages of 13 and 16.  The results published in PLOS ONE examined data from 6,483 teens in the U.S.  The researchers identified certain physical diseases that tend to occur more frequently in kids and teens who suffered from certain mental disorders.  They noted that depression is frequently followed by arthritis and certain stomach or digestive conditions, while anxiety disorders were often followed by skin conditions.  Anxiety disorders were also noted to be more common if the person had already suffered with heart disease.  The researchers also observed a link between epileptic disorders and later on development of eating disorders.

The links are important because it suggests the causal relationship between mental conditions and physical conditions.  It means that health practitioners need to consider the additional implications of physical health issues that can follow or link to untreated mental disorders.  There may be other mental issues that link to physical ailments or vice versa.  From a health policy perspective, healthcare practitioners need to have these links on their radar when diagnosing mental and physical conditions, especially in the younger age groups.

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