A link has been found between joint hypermobility and the onset of depression and anxiety in adolescence, according to a new study by Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) and published in BMJ is open.
The researchers found that young people with hypermobility of the joints were more likely to get injured depression And the anxietyand that psychiatric symptoms were also more severe among hyperactive participants.
Dr Jessica Eccles, Senior Clinical Lecturer at BSMS, MQ Arthritis Research UK Fellow and lead author, said:
Many psychological 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. Recognizing the link between hyperactivity, depression and anxiety means we can work to develop appropriate and effective treatments.”
Joint hypermobility is caused by a genetic difference in connective tissue, and because connective tissue is found everywhere in the body, it also affects our nervous system. When this part of our nervous system works differently, mental health problems are more likely to develop.
The study was funded by the Medical Research Council and the MQ versus arthritisIt was also found that joint hypermobility was more common in females than in males. However, only male joint hypermobility at age 14 had an increased risk of depression at age 18.
Although joint hypermobility is associated with anxiety disorders in adults, this link has not been previously explored in a large sample of children or young adults.
MQ is proud to support the groundbreaking work of Dr. Eccles and her team. This study highlights the need for more targeted and customized support for adolescents with ADHD, particularly girls. The findings demonstrate not only the need to support this group of individuals, but also the importance of research taking “A whole-mind-body approach to health and uses longitudinal studies to improve our understanding of demographics at greater risk for depression and anxiety. Congratulations to Jess and her team and we look forward to the next phases in this work so that we can ensure better clinical care and treatment.”
Leah Milligan, CEO of MQ Mental Health Research
The researchers used an existing database 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 assessed them for hyperactivity at both ages 14 and 18, and depression and anxiety at age 18, They then used statistical tests to assess the link between joint hypermobility and depression and anxiety.
Dr Neha Esar-Brown, director of research and health intelligence at Versus Arthritis, said:
“Excessive movement affects one in four people in the UK. Like other musculoskeletal conditions (MSK), it can have a profound and far-reaching impact on life, causing daily pain, fatigue and often disturbed sleep.
Previous studies in adults have shown that you are more likely to suffer from anxiety if you are hyperactive, and that the daily toll of distressing symptoms can lead to depression. Dr. Eccles’ research is helping to identify those at risk at an earlier age, which will enable better, earlier, and more targeted treatments to help young people live well with ADHD, and to prevent or reduce the impact of the condition later in life.”