People who are scared of spiders are more likely to suffer from depression
People with specific phobias or fears, such as spiders or mice, are twice as likely to become depressed. They are also three times more likely to have other phobias, the Trimbos Institute and Amsterdam UMC found in joint research. Therefore, it is not unimportant to treat such fears early, even if they seem quite manageable in themselves, according to the researchers.
This also includes things like a fear of heights. 6,646 people participated in the study. Six years after the start, all 552 participants who already had a phobia were more likely to have another anxiety disorder or major depressive disorder than those with no phobias. This concerned new disorders that could not be attributed to something else, such as sexual abuse or unemployment, according to the Trimbos Institute.
"If people with - apparently harmless and treatable - mental disorders are detected and treated early, possibly more serious mental disorders can be prevented," said researcher Guido Wetzer on the Trimbos site.
Reporting by ANP.