Kids with tummy aches may become anxious adults
Kids who frequently complain about stomach pain are significantly more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders as adults, new research from Vanderbilt University has found. Among people in the study who often experienced abdominal pain, 51 percent suffer from anxiety as adults, as compared to the 20 percent rate among people who did not have stomach aches as children. Even in cases where abdominal pain ceases, the likelihood of anxiety as an adult remains high.
This study analyzed 332 patients who had suffered from chronic stomach pain as children and used 147 people as a control group. Also, 40 percent of those with stomach issues suffered from depression during their lives, as compared to 16 percent of the control group.
The researchers said that children can get into a "vicious cycle" of avoiding certain activities because of the pain, and that because they are not involved in these activities, they focus more on their pain, causing them to worry even more.
Pediatricians fear that complaints of abdominal pain during childhood could be associated with stress, and the American Academy of Pediatrics advises that parents be aware of the symptoms of recurrent abdominal issues.