Childhood asthma, food allergy may up anxiety disorder risk


    Toronto: If your child is suffering from chronic illness such as asthma or food allergy, he or she is more likely to develop anxiety or other mental health disorders, finds a study

    The findings showed that anxiety disorders were most common, including separation anxiety, generalised anxiety and phobias, in kids with chronic illness such as asthma, food allergy, epilepsy, diabetes or juvenile arthritis.

    For the study, detailed in the journal BMJ Open, the team from the University of Waterloo surveyed children between the age of six and 16.

    According to parents’ responses to a standardised interview, 58 per cent of children screened positive for at least one mental disorder.

    Six months after diagnosis, the number of kids showing signs of a mental disorder dipped slightly to 42 per cent.

    “These findings show that risk for mental disorder is relatively the same among children with different physical conditions,” said Mark Ferro, Professor at Waterloo.

    “Regardless of their condition, children with physical and mental health problems experience a significant decline in their quality life within the first six months after receiving their diagnosis, indicating a need for mental health services early on,” Ferro added

    The researchers found that age and gender had no impact on the results. A subset of kids self-reported on their own mental health.

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