Data Taken from 6,500 Teens
A new study reveals temporal patterns in young people that point to the association of depression to diseases. It connects digestive system diseases and skin diseases to anxiety.
This new finding confirms the notion that mental disorders and physical diseases frequently go hand in hand.
This new study was spearheaded by psychologists at the University of Basel and Ruhr University Bochum and funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
The Study and Result
Headed by Dr. Marion Tegethoff in collaboration with Professor Gunther Meinlschmidt from the University of Basel’s Faculty of Psychology, the research team analyzed data from a representative sample of 6,483 teenagers from the US aged between 13 and 18.
The research team has come up with interesting findings. They discovered that some physical diseases tend to occur more often in children and adolescents if they have previously suffered from certain mental disorders.
In addition, certain mental disorders tend to occur more frequently after the onset of particular physical diseases. Mental disorders such as depression were frequently followed by arthritis and diseases of the digestive system, while the same relationship existed between anxiety disorders and skin diseases.
Aside from that, the researchers revealed that anxiety disorders were more common if the person had already suffered from heart disease. This points a close association for the first time in the relationship between epileptic disorders and subsequent eating disorders.
Causal Relationship between Mental Disorders and Physical diseases
The new findings could pave the way to find possible answers to the origins of physical diseases and mental disorders and to their treatment. These findings are considered relevant for the treatment of epilepsy in the long run as well.
Marion Tegethoff, the study’s lead author, said “For the first time, we have established that epilepsy is followed by an increased risk of eating disorders – a phenomenon, that had previously been described only in single case reports. This suggests that approaches to epilepsy treatment could also have potential in the context of eating disorders.”
Tegethoff added that these findings underscore the treatment of mental disorders and physical diseases should be closely interlinked from an early age on.