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Depression, anxiety common with psoriatic arthritis

Melissa Leavitt

People with psoriatic arthritis are at greater risk for depression and anxiety than people with psoriasis alone, according to findings from a recent study.

The study, led by researchers from the University of Toronto, asked patients at Toronto Western Hospital to complete a questionnaire assessing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Participants included 306 people with psoriatic arthritis, and 135 people with psoriasis alone.

Survey results revealed that 36.6 percent of participants with psoriatic arthritis had anxiety, while 22.2 percent had depression. Among participants with psoriasis, the rates were lower, yet still notable: 24.4 percent of people with psoriasis had anxiety, and 9.6 percent had depression.

The prevalence of depression and anxiety among people with psoriatic arthritis is not surprising, said Dr. Dafna Gladman, a co-author of the study. "But it was important to document it."

Although past research has assessed mental health comorbidities among people with psoriatic disease, this study is one of the first to zero in on mood disorders in psoriatic arthritis specifically.

The findings highlighted the need for increased awareness of these conditions among patients and caregivers.

"We've identified it as an issue, and now doctors should really be looking for it," Gladman said.

Gladman noted that even though patients identified themselves as being depressed, many had not received treatment for their depression. This may be due to the fact that mood disorders can easily go undetected in a clinic setting.

"When a patient comes to you with either skin psoriasis or joint disease, you concentrate on those physical findings," she said.

To ensure that patients get the comprehensive care they need, she recommends a multidisciplinary approach so that patients see physicians with different specialties.

"Somebody—the family doctor, a psychologist—should be assessing these people," she said.

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