Health TrendsMaternal and Child Health

Chronic illness in Childhood may lead to Mental Illness Later in Life

New research has shown that children who have chronic health problems may be more likely to experience mental illness later in Life.

In this study, published recently in Development and Psychopathology, children who had chronic health problems – defined as conditions that cannot be cured but managed with medications, including asthma, diabetes, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis – were more likely to experience mental health problems at 10 years and those chronic health problems persisted into their adolescent years.

To reach these findings, scientists analyzed a sample of over 7000 children to check the prevalence of mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety. They found that children with chronic health problems were twice as likely to have a mental health problem at 10-13 years, compared with healthy children. At 15 years, these children were 60 percent more likely to have such problems than healthy children.

The scientists reiterated that although earlier studies had established the link between childhood chronic health conditions and mental health problems in later life, this study provides a stronger evidence of this association.

This provides useful information for parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers to make sure there is continuous mental assessment of children with chronic illness to find those at risk early and access the needed intervention.