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Chronic Abdominal Pain Is Associated with Anxiety, Depression

Published Online: Wednesday, September 1, 2004   [ Request Print ]

Children and adolescents with recurring abdominal pain (RAP) often have anxiety and depression, according to a study of 80 participants reported recently in Pediatrics. In the study, the researchers examined 42 children with chronic abdominal pain who were treated in a primary practice and 38 children undergoing routine examinations. The patients ranged in age from 8 to 15.

The study's results showed that patients with abdominal pain were more likely to experience anxiety or depression. For example, 33 (79%) of the patients were diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and 18 (43%) were diagnosed with a depressive disorder. The researchers concluded that treatment of children with chronic abdominal pain should focus on both the physical symptoms and emotional issues.

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