International survey data suggest an assortment of mental disorders were associated with increased risk of the onset of a wide array of chronic physical conditions.
The study by Kate M. Scott, M.A. (ClinPsych), Ph.D., of the University of Otage, Dunedin, New Zealand, and coauthors used World Mental Health Surveys from 17 countries. The study included 16 mental health disorders (mood, anxiety, impulse control, and substance use disorders) and 10 chronic physical conditions (arthritis, chronic pain, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, chronic lung disease, peptic ulcer and cancer).
The study did not determine causal links. "The study findings need to be confirmed in prospective designs, but they suggest that the deleterious effects of mental disorders on physical health (if causal) accumulate over the life course and increase with mental disorder comorbidity," the authors conclude.