People who experience nausea may be suffering from anxiety or depression. According to a new study, the possible causes that should be investigated before aggressive treatments are begun for gastrointestinal disorders. This may lead to avoidance of long-term use of potentially harmful medications for nausea, unnecessary medical investigation and probably a better quality of life for the patients.
Haug and colleagues in the department of psychiatry conducted what is perhaps the largest study of the prevalence of nausea ever undertaken. Overall, 48 percent of 62,000 people indicated they had suffered from one or several gastrointestinal complaints, including nausea, heartburn, diarrhoea and constipation, during a one-year period. Nearly 13 percent had experienced nausea during the year.
"In our study population, the prevalence of anxiety and depression was significantly higher for subjects with nausea, compared to subjects without these complaints," Haug says. Based on symptoms, 41 percent of those who had major complaints of nausea were found to have an anxiety disorder, while 24 percent were clinically depressed.
Nausea was the strongest risk factor for anxiety. Those who reported symptoms of nausea were more than three times as likely to also have an anxiety disorder, and nearly one-and-a-half times more likely to suffer from depression.