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10/24/2006 - News

New study shows link between anxiety and physical health problems

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD

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New study shows link between anxiety and physical health problems

Reported by Susan Aldridge, PhD, medical journalist

Anxiety disorders are associated with problems like thyroid disorder, lung disease, arthritis and migraine.
Depression has long been linked to physical illness and there is also some overlap between depressive and anxiety disorders. Now a team at the University of Manitoba, Canada, has shown that people with anxiety disorders are also more likely to have physical health problems.

They looked at a group of over 4,000 men and women of whom 8.4 per cent had an anxiety disorder, such as panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder or agoraphobia. The survey showed that 60.8 per cent of the group had a physical disorder. Those with an anxiety disorder were more likely to have a physical disorder of any kind and especially respiratory disease, gastrointestinal disease, arthritis, allergy, thyroid disorder or migraine. Generally, the anxiety disorder came first and those having both anxiety and a physical problem had a poorer quality of life than those having either one or the other. It is not clear, however, how anxiety and physical illness are linked although there are various possibilities that would be worth investigating. The study suggests that anxiety should be taken as seriously as depression when it comes to looking after patients' physical and mental health.

Source
Archives of Internal Medicine 23rd October 2006 Volume 166 pages 2109-2116

Created on: 10/24/2006
Reviewed on: 10/24/2006

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