Teens Excessive Fatigue Can Lead To Anxiety Disorders

According to researchers from the National Institute of Mental Health, teenagers experiencing excessive fatigue often also have anxiety disorders and suffer from various levels of disability.

Kathleen Merikangas, Ph.D., and colleagues used a nationally representative sample of teens ages 13 to 18 and found that among the 3 percent who reported prolonged fatigue (meaning profound fatigue lasting at least three months), about half of them also had anxiety disorders.

Fatigue and Anxiety Combo Results in Poorer Health

Having both prolonged fatigue and a mood or anxiety disorder proved to be associated with poorer physical and mental health, along with a tendency to use healthcare services compared with having only one of the disorders.

To reach their conclusions, investigators examined data from 10,123 teens who took part in the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement. Participants were interviewed using a modified version of the World Health Organization's Composite International Diagnostic Interview.

The data was as follows:

  • 1.4 percent reported prolonged fatigue only
  • 1.6 percent reported prolonged fatigue plus a depressive or anxiety disorder
  • 14.9 percent reported a depressive or anxiety disorder only
  • Important to address fatigue in adolescence
  • The group reporting both prolonged fatigue and an anxiety disorder exhibited the poorest
  • health status of any group.

They were also more likely to report:

  • Fair or poor mental health
  • Fair or poor physical health
  • Social phobia
  • Substance use

The researchers note that prolonged fatigue is linked to a social function in youth and that it can overlap into more severe forms in adulthood, suggesting that there is an opportunity there to prevent those problems by addressing the fatigue in adolescence.

Source: American Journal of Psychiatry
Photo: Pixabay

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