Children who have frequent stomach aches are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression as adults, according to a new study. Researchers evaluated about 330 children with functional abdominal pain syndrome (FAPS) — abdominal pain with no specific cause — and compared them with 150 children without stomachaches.
Later psychiatric evaluations (conducted an average of nine years later) revealed that the risk of developing an anxiety disorder was about four to five times higher in individuals who suffered from abdominal pain as a child.
The findings also suggest that children with abdominal pain have a greater risk of adult depression. In the study, 40 percent of adults who had abdominal pain as children had depression during their lifetime, compared with 16 percent of adults in the control group.
Approximately 50 percent of those who had FAPS as kids had social anxiety, phobias or other anxiety disorders while growing up or in adulthood, compared with about 20 percent of people without FAPS.
The findings suggest that anxiety should be taken into account when treating children who get frequent stomach aches, the researchers said. MORE.
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Parenting with Grace (See chapter titled, “BOO! Dealing with Childhood Fears”)