People with multiple respiratory conditions are most likely to develop depression and anxiety later in life. A new study published in the journal Lancet Regional Health-Europe reminds us that if the coronavirus pandemic leads to an increase in chronic respiratory disease, it could also affect future health care. It also shows that treatment planning for chronically ill patients requires integrated management of mental health as well as physical health.
Amy Ronalson, PhD, from the Institute of Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London, UK, who conducted the study, said: and an increased risk of developing anxiety.” Rather than dealing with the body and mind separately, the task is how to integrate the management of the mind and body.
More than a quarter of adults currently enrolled in primary care services in the UK have two or more physical health problems known as ‘multiple chronic diseases’. The number of people suffering from various chronic diseases is expected to increase significantly in the future. The study analyzed data from the UK Biobank to examine the relationship between multiple chronic diseases measured at a specific time point and depression and anxiety assessed 4 to 6 years later.
Studies have shown that people with multiple respiratory conditions, including asthma and emphysema, are more likely to develop depression later in life. They were more than three times more likely to develop depression than those without respiratory problems. The co-occurrence of gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome along with painful conditions such as low back pain and arthritis was also a strong predictor of depression.
It also found that people with three physical conditions were nearly twice as likely to develop depression compared to those with one or no physical condition.
The researchers also investigated the association between multiple chronic diseases and anxiety. Results similar to depression were found in that the presence of two or more physical conditions increased the risk of developing anxiety later in life.
Knowing what kind of support a particular patient may need can ultimately help provide better support and integrated care for people with chronic conditions. “This study provides insight into the relationship between chronic health problems and depression,” said Dr Jayat Das-Munsch, a psychiatrist and co-author of the paper. Using an approach that integrates the management of physical and mental health will help minimize the impact of physical illness.”
Reporter Lee Bo-hyun [email protected]
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