June 17, 2009
Depression hits many arthritis patients
Researchers in Russia say they found stress events often preceded the onset of rheumatoid arthritis.
Dr. Tatiana Lisitsyna of the State Institute of Rheumatology of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences in Moscow also found 63 percent of those with rheumatoid arthritis also suffered psychiatric disorder -- 87 percent of these were depressive disorders.
The study presented at the annual congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Copenhagen, Denmark, also found one-third of rheumatoid arthritis patients had sleep disorders, 23 percent were diagnosed with cognitive dysfunction, with 16 percent of these attributed to depression and the patients with depression exhibited more severe rheumatoid arthritis as measured by X-rays but usually received less aggressive treatment.
Evaluating and addressing the mental health of those with rheumatoid arthritis should be a regular feature of rheumatology practice to improve quality of life and reduce the potentially distressing psychological burden of rheumatoid arthritis, Lisitsyna said in a statement.
The study looked at 75 rheumatoid arthritis patients -- median age 52 with 96 percent female. The median disease duration was 12 years and 74 percent of the patients were considered to have either severe or moderate pain.