(HealthDay News) – Children with functional abdominal pain (FAP) are at greater risk for anxiety disorders as they get older, according to research published online Aug. 12 in Pediatrics.

Grace D. Shelby, PhD, of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues prospectively monitored 332 children with FAP and 147 control subjects to assess for psychiatric disorders and functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) in adolescence and young adulthood (mean age, 20.01 years).

The researchers found that, compared with controls, children with FAP had a significantly greater lifetime risk (51% vs. 20%) and current risk (30% vs. 12%) of anxiety disorders, and a significantly greater lifetime risk (40% vs. 16%) of depressive disorder. After controlling for gender and age, the odds ratios for lifetime and current anxiety disorders for those with FAP vs. controls were 4.59 and 3.57, respectively. Among those with FAP, risk of current anxiety disorders was significantly greater for those with, vs. those without, FGIDs at follow-up (40% vs. 24%); the risk was lowest for controls (12%).

“Patients with FAP carry long-term vulnerability to anxiety that begins in childhood and persists into late adolescence and early adulthood, even if abdominal pain resolves,” the authors write.

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