Asthmatics may have higher rate of mental disorders

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asthmaISLAMABAD - The results of a study published in the November issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry suggest there is an association between asthma and a range of mental disorders.

Dr. Renee D. Goodwin, of Columbia University, New York, and colleagues studied a sample of 13,222 adults in Germany. Current and lifetime asthma cases were identified based on physician diagnosis, and the Composite International Diagnostic Interview was used to assess current and lifetime mental disorders.

The researchers found that 2.7 percent of the subjects currently had asthma and 5.74 percent had a history of asthma.

Patients who currently had severe asthma were more than twice as likely to have an anxiety disorder and almost five times as likely to have a phobia compared with non-asthmatics. In addition, those with current severe asthma were almost five times as likely to have a panic disorder and about four times as likely to have panic attacks.

Furthermore, a diagnosis of lifetime severe asthma was associated with two to three times of the risk of having an anxiety disorder, panic disorder, panic attacks, social phobia or a specific phobia. Patients with this diagnosis were also more than five times as likely to have generalized anxiety disorder or bipolar disorder.

Subjects who currently had nonsevere asthma also had an increased risk of having a mood disorder or a severe mental disorder, Goodwin and colleagues report. Those with lifetime nonsevere asthma had a modest increased risk of having an anxiety disorder or severe mental disorder.

The authors call for further studies. "Identification of common genetic or biological pathways for the development of asthma and mental disorders could have important implications for future research and clinical treatment of both," they conclude.

source - Pak Tribune