HomeMENTAL HEALTHHaving hypermobile joints may increase risk of depression and anxiety in teens

Having hypermobile joints may increase risk of depression and anxiety in teens

A link has been found between joint hypermobility and the emergence of depression and anxiety in adolescence, according to a new study published by the Brighton & Sussex Medical School (BSMS). BMJ Open,

The researchers found that youth with joint hypermobility were more likely to have depression and anxiety, and psychiatric symptoms were also more severe in the hypermobile participants.

Dr Jessica Eccles, Clinical Senior Lecturer BSMS and MQ Arthritis Research UK Fellow and lead author said:

“Many psychiatric problems, including depression and anxiety, begin before the age of 25. It is therefore important to identify factors that may increase the risk of these disorders.” Being aware of the link between hyperactivity and depression and anxiety means we can work on developing appropriate and effective treatments.”

Joint hypermobility is caused by a genetic difference in our connective tissue, and because connective tissue is present everywhere in the body, it also affects our fight-or-flight nervous system. When this part of our nervous system functions differently, mental health problems are more likely to develop.

The study, which was funded by the Medical Research Council and MQ and Versus Arthritis, also found that joint hypermobility was more common in women than men. However, it was only in males that combined hyperactivity at age 14 increased the risk of depression at age 18.

Although joint hyperactivity is associated with anxiety disorders in adults, this link has not previously been explored in a large sample of children or young people.

“MQ is very proud to support the groundbreaking work of Dr Eccles and her team. This study highlights the need for more targeted and bespoke support for hypermobile adolescents, particularly girls. The findings are only relevant to this group of individuals not only show the need for support for diabetes, but also demonstrate the importance of research that takes a whole-mind, body-mind approach to health and uses longitudinal studies to improve our understanding of which demographics are at higher risk. from depression and anxiety. Congratulations to Jess and her team and we look forward to the next steps in this work to ensure better clinical care and treatment is provided.

Lee Milligan, CEO of MQ Mental Health Research

The researchers used an existing data base from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), which collected data from more than 14,000 children and their parents or caregivers, and followed them at ages 14 and 18. Evaluated for combined hypersensitivity, and depression and anxiety at age 18. They then used statistical tests to assess the link between combined hyperactivity and depression and anxiety.

Dr Neha Isser-Brown, Director of Research and Health Intelligence at Versus Arthritis, said:

“Hypermobility affects one in four people in the UK. Like other musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions it can have a profound and far-reaching impact on life, causing daily pain, fatigue and often disrupted sleep.

“Previous studies in adults have shown that if you have hypermobility, you are more likely to suffer from anxiety, and the daily toll of painful symptoms can lead to depression. Dr. Eccles’ research helps identify identify who is at risk at a younger age, which would enable better, earlier, more targeted treatments to help young people live well with hypermobility, and prevent or reduce the effects of the condition later in life will help.

Read the full paper, titled ‘Variant connective tissue (joint hypermobility) and its relevance to depression and anxiety in adolescents: a cohort-based case-control study’.



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