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Depression and Anxiety Risk Higher in Young People With Chronic Liver Conditions

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Highlights
  • 20 percent of teenagers will experience depression before they reach adulthood
  • Young patients with chronic liver conditions are at higher depression, anxiety risk 
  • Greater attention needed to monitor mental health of young patients with liver conditions

Depression and Anxiety Risk Higher in Young People With Chronic Liver Conditions



Young people with chronic illness have increased rate of mental health problems than the general population.

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Many teens and adults with chronic liver conditions suffer from depression and anxiety. The findings indicate that greater attention should be directed to the mental health of the young patients with liver condition.

Research work conducted by Marianne Samyn, MD, FRCPCH and Anna Hames, of King's College Hospital uncovers the prevalence of anxiety and depression in young people with chronic liver diseases. The team also sought to identify the factors that might cause distress in these young patients and how anxiety and depression might affect their beliefs about their illness and treatment.
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187 patients aged 16 to 25 years who were attending an outpatient liver transition clinic in London were asked to complete an electronically-administered questionnaire. Study participants were divided into three groups:
  • Those who had undergone liver transplantation,
  • Those with autoimmune liver disease,
  • Those with other chronic liver conditions.
Results of the Study 

17.7% of the patients in the study screened positive for anxiety or depression

Patients' distress was attributed to fatigue, sleep difficulties, financial concerns, problems at work/school, worry, and low self-esteem.

Depression and anxiety did not have a significant relationship with patients' perceived understanding of their illness or their beliefs as to how much treatment can help.
There were no significant differences between disease groups.

Facts on Depression and Anxiety Disorders in Teenagers
  • 1 in 6 young people will experience anxiety at some point in their lives
  • Depression and anxiety increase suicide risk by 12 times 
  • Generalized anxiety disorders (GADs) affect about 3.1% American adults aged 18 years and older 
  • 30 percent of depressed teens develop substance abuse problems 
"Health care professionals should be aware of the high prevalence of mental health problems in young people with liver conditions and routinely inquire about young people's psychosocial circumstances as both can impact on their illness and outcome," said Dr. Samyn. "Interestingly, the most common concerns young people with liver conditions report--such as lethargy, problems with sleeping and money, and work- or school-related issues--are very similar to their peers and can be addressed by a multidisciplinary team looking after them."

The findings are published in Liver Transplantation.

Source: Medindia

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