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Generalized anxiety disorder linked to peptic ulcer disease

A new finding of a link between an anxiety disorder and peptic ulcer disease lends support to the view that this gastrointestinal disease and anxiety disorder may share a common link. In recent years, attention has focused on a more biological element with the identification of bacteria as a cause of peptic ulcers.

"The identification of Helicobacter pylori as an infectious cause of peptic ulcer disease has been considered by many to disprove the possibility that there is an important relationship between anxiety disorders and gastrointestinal disease," says study author Renee D. Goodwin, Ph.D., from the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York City.

"Over the last several years research on the causes and treatments for peptic ulcer disease has neglected the links with psychiatric/psychological factors," she notes.

Goodwin and co-author Murray B. Stein, M.D., from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California at San Diego in California, analyzed data from the National Comorbidity Survey, a household survey of U.S. individuals aged 15 to 54, to determine the relationship between generalized anxiety disorder and ulcers.

Generalized anxiety disorder affects between 3 percent and 4 percent of the population, and is characterized by unremitting worry, dread and lack of energy. A peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of the stomach or small intestine. More than 25 million Americans suffer from an ulcer during their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Goodwin and Stein found that generalized anxiety disorder was associated with a significantly increased risk of self-reported peptic ulcer disease. They also found that the more anxiety symptoms reported by the generalized anxiety sufferers, the more likely they were to report peptic ulcer disease.

These study findings support previous research. "The identification of a
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Contact: Randee Sacks
rs363@columbia.edu
212-305-5635
Center for the Advancement of Health
25-Nov-2002


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