Research Shows That Adults with Cerebral Palsy Are At Higher Risk of Mental Health Issues

According to recent research, adults with cerebral palsy (CP) are at higher risk of developing mental health conditions than are adults without CP.

Daniel Whitney and colleagues from Michigan Medicine (a healthcare system run by the University of Michigan) published a study (1) that emphasizes the need for increased knowledge of mental health conditions and treatment options in adults with CP. 

Whitney et al. looked at insurance claims and mental health diagnoses in order to look at potential associations between cerebral palsy, other neurodevelopmental conditions, and mental health problems. They found the following (2):

  • Adult men with CP were more likely to have mood affective disorders, anxiety, personality/behavior disorders, alcoholism, and opioid addictions than adult males without CP.
  • Adult women with CP also had a higher prevalence of certain mental health conditions, but were no more likely to struggle with alcoholism or opioid addictions than women without CP.
  • People with cerebral palsy and comorbid neurodevelopmental conditions (such as intellectual disabilities and epilepsy) were at an especially high risk of certain mental health problems. 

The bottom line

Although there is a great deal of research on cerebral palsy, much of it is focused on children. However, as Whitney explained to Michigan Health Lab, with advances in treatments, children with CP are likely to live much longer than in the past. 

“Unfortunately, far less is known about the health and clinical care needed to promote healthy aging throughout the adult lifespan for this patient population,” he said. He concludes by stating that he hopes their research increases awareness of the need for better mental health screenings and services in adult patients with cerebral palsy (2). 

About ABC Law Centers

ABC Law Centers was established to focus exclusively on birth injury cases. A “birth injury” is any type of harm to a baby that occurs just before, during, or after birth. This includes issues such as oxygen deprivation, infection, and trauma. While some children with birth injuries make a complete recovery, others develop disabilities such as cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

If a birth injury/subsequent disability could have been prevented with proper care, then it constitutes medical malpractice. Settlements from birth injury cases can cover the costs of lifelong treatment, care, and other crucial resources. 

If you believe you may have a birth injury case for your child, please contact us today to learn more. We are happy to talk to you free of any obligation or charge. In fact, clients pay nothing throughout the entire legal process unless we win. 

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  1. Whitney, D. G., Warschausky, S. A., Ng, S., Hurvitz, E. A., Kamdar, N. S., & Peterson, M. D. (2019). Prevalence of mental health disorders among adults with cerebral palsy: a cross-sectional analysis. Ann Intern Med
  2. Urban, K. (n.d.). Adults with Cerebral Palsy at Increased Risk for Mental Health Conditions. Retrieved August 6, 2019, from

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