Washington: The risk of developing depression and anxiety is higher among adults with cerebral palsy as compared to their peers without the condition, according to a study.
The findings have appeared in the journal JAMA Neurology.
A team of researchers led by Dr Kimberley Smith from the University of Surrey and Dr Jennifer Ryan from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland investigated the mental health of those with cerebral palsy and compared it with peers of a similar age, sex, and socioeconomic status, who were not sufferers.
Intellectual difficulties, which can affect many with the condition, were also examined to determine if they have an impact on the development of depression and anxiety.
Researchers examined up to 28 years of UK primary care data of 1,700 adults aged 18 or older with cerebral palsy, and 5,115 adults who did not have the condition.
Researchers found that the risk of depression was 28 per cent higher and the risk of anxiety was 40 per cent higher among adults with cerebral palsy who have intellectual difficulties compared to those without the condition.
For those who had cerebral palsy but did not have an intellectual disability, the possibility of developing depression and anxiety increased further. The risk of depression was 44 per cent higher and the risk of anxiety was 55 per cent higher in adults with cerebral palsy who didn’t have an intellectual disability, in contrast to their peers.
Lead author Dr Kimberley Smith, University of Surrey, said: “More needs to be done to understand why those with cerebral palsy have a greater risk of developing depression and anxiety.”
“People with cerebral palsy face unique challenges as they age which could be linked to anxiety and depression. This study has allowed us to define the issue. The next step will be to better understand why it happens so we can develop targeted mental health interventions for this population,” added Smith.
“These findings support the need to consider cerebral palsy as a lifelong condition and to identify and address mental health problems among people with cerebral palsy alongside physical health problems,” said Dr Jennifer Ryan, study co-author.
“Despite historically being considered a pediatric condition, the majority of with cerebral palsy live well into adulthood, and many adults with cerebral palsy experience a worsening of impairments, including a decline in mobility,” concluded Ryan.