Mental Health Conditions Prevalent in Patients With Arthritis


Anxiety or depression affect a third of US adults with arthritis, CDC researchers report.

One-third of US adults aged 45 years and older with arthritis report having anxiety or depression, according to CDC researchers. Although there has been a stronger clinical focus on depression, anxiety is nearly twice as common in patients with arthritis, they noted. The findings are reported in Arthritis Care & Research, an American College of Rheumatology publication.

For the study, the researchers selected patients who were previous responders to the CDC's Arthritis Conditions and Health Effects Survey, a representative population of older US adults with arthritis symptoms, and identified 1793 participants with doctor-diagnosed arthritis or other rheumatologic conditions. They assessed anxiety and depression using the emotional well-being questions from the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales.

Anxiety and depression were reported by 31% and 18% of the patients, respectively. One-third of the patients reported having at least 1 of the conditions, and 84% of those who had depression also had anxiety. No specific profile of characteristics for those with either mental health condition was apparent. Only half of the patients with arthritis and anxiety or depression had sought mental health treatment in the previous year.

Anxiety often is under-recognized and undertreated and until recently was overlooked as a potential risk factor for depression, it was noted. The researchers recommended that given the high prevalence of anxiety and depression in patients with arthritis and the effective treatment options that are available, all patients with arthritis be screened for these mental health conditions.

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