Are you doing enough to alleviate the fears of your patients with arthritis? A recent study published in Arthritis Care and Research found that anxiety is more common than depression among US adults with arthritis. The study sample comprised US adults aged ≥ 45 years with doctor-diagnosed arthritis (n=1,793) from Arthritis Condition and Health Effects Survey (a cross-sectional, population based, random digit dialed telephone interview survey). Anxiety and depression were measured using separate and validated subscales of the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales. The results showed that anxiety was more common than depression (31% and 18% respectively); overall, a third of respondents reported at least one of the two conditions and most (84%) of those with depression also had anxiety.
Despite the clinical focus on depression among people with arthritis, anxiety was found to be almost twice as common as depression. Given their high prevalence, profound impact on quality of life, and range of effective treatments available, health care providers should be encouraged to screen all people with arthritis for both anxiety and depression.