NASHVILLE, (UPI) — Patients with abdominal pain in childhood have a higher risk of anxiety disorders later as adults, U.S. researchers suggest.
Grace D. Shelby of the Vanderbilt University in Nashville and colleagues at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine said children with functional abdominal pain are more likely to have anxiety or depression during childhood, but the study tracked study subjects into adulthood.
Shelby said the study involved 332 pediatric patients with functional abdominal pain and 147 control subjects were tracked and evaluated for psychiatric disorders and functional gastrointestinal disorders at follow-up in adolescence and young adulthood — mean age 20.
The study, published online ahead of print of the September edition, found of the adults who had abdominal pain as children, 51 percent had an anxiety disorder during their lifetime — and 30 percent had a current diagnosis — compared with 20 percent of adults in a control group who had an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.
Forty percent of adults who had abdominal pain as children had depression during their lifetime, compared to 16 percent of adults in the control group, the study said.
The study authors concluded patients with functional abdominal pain carry long-term vulnerability to anxiety that begins in childhood and persists into early adulthood, even if their abdominal pain resolved.