According to the World Health Organization, roughly 350 million people around the world are affected by depression.
While depression correlates to mental health, researchers have long looked at the links between depression, other mental health disorders and physical ailments.
Marion Tegethoff worked alongside Gunter Meinlschmidt, both psychology faculty at the University of Basel, Switzerland, on research looking into the patterns between mental health and physical health in youth.
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE and detailed data that the researchers analyzed from 6,483 teenagers between 13 and 18 years of age.
Overall, the researchers found that certain physical diseases were more likely to be present in teenagers who had experienced certain mental health issues and vice versa.
Tegethoff, Meinlschmidt and the other researchers found that those who suffered from depression were likely to suffer from digestive and stomach problems and arthritis later on in life.
A similar relationship was found between those who suffered from anxiety and skin disorders.
In addition, researchers observed an unprecedented relationship between epileptic disorders followed by eating disorders.
“For the first time, we have established that epilepsy is followed by an increased risk of eating disorders — a phenomenon that had previously been described only in single case reports. This suggests that approaches to epilepsy treatment could also have potential in the context of eating disorders,” said Tegethoff, the study’s lead author.
Researchers concluded that the treatment of mental disorders and physical diseases should be dealt with side by side from an early age.