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Physical Diseases and Mental Disorders Go Hand-in-Hand

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 Physical Diseases and Mental Disorders Go Hand-in-Hand


  • Depression among the young people in the U.S amounts to14.8 million
  • Anxiety and depression are an aftermath of various disorders in children adolescents
  • Children with anxiety disorders developed skin diseases
Children and adolescents who have a history of mental disorders are more prone to physical illnesses like cancer, diabetes, asthma and chronic pain.

Development of Various Disorders

A research group led by PD Dr. Marion Tegethoff in collaboration with Professor Gunther Meinlschmidt from the University of Basel's Faculty of Psychology have found important insights between mental disorders and physical diseases in young people.


A total of about 6,483 teenagers who were in the age group of 13 and 18 were selected to study the temporal pattern and relationship between physical diseases and mental disorders, as published in the Journal PLOS ONE.

The study found that children and adolescents who have suffered mental disorders are more prone to physical diseases. Mental disorders like depression in children have also shown signs of early arthritis and diseases of the digestive system.

Similarly, children who have experienced anxiety disorders were more likely to develop skin diseases. The mind and the skin are interlinked. Acne, rashes, eczema, hives, psoriasis and hair loss are some skin disorders that take their roots from or place their roots in the psyche.

Mental disorders (like epilepsy) act as precursor for the development of physical diseases in the early life of an individual.

Anxiety disorders were found to be more common if the person had already suffered from heart disease.

"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," said Tegethoff.

"Our results expand the relevance of mental disorders beyond mental to physical health care, and vice versa, supporting the concept of a more integrated mental-physical health care approach, and open new starting points for early disease prevention and better treatments, with relevance for various medical disciplines," said Tegethoff..

Physical Disorder

Arthritis is not a single disease (joint pain) but varies from wear and tear of cartilage (Osteoarthritis) to those related to inflammation (rheumatoid artritis).

Arthritis is the leading cause of disease in the U.S where more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis.

Arthritis is found to be more common among the women and occurs more frequently as people get older.

It can be treated by setting aside time for physical activity and maintain healthy body weight and lifestyle.

Eating Disorders

The two eating disorders include:
  • Bulimia nervosa (binge eating disorder) and
  • Anorexia nervosa (consumption of very little or no food)
Mental Disorder

Feeling of anxiousness and fear are a group of mental disorders called anxiety disorders.

There are different types of anxiety disorders that include panic disorder, social anxiety disorder and specific phobias.

Anxiety disorders can be treated with modifications in the lifestyle, through counseling sessions and medications.

Source: Medindia

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