EDS/Hypermobility linked to psychiatric disorders

Below are three PubMed studies from 2015 about the detrimental effects of EDS on the mind/brain:

Joint hypermobility and the heritable disorders of connective tissue: clinical and empirical evidence of links with psychiatry. – PubMed – NCBIGen Hosp Psychiatry. 2015 Jan-Feb


OBJECTIVE: The heritable disorders of connective tissue (HDCTs) are a group of genetic disorders affecting connective tissue matrix proteins.  

Fragility, laxity of tissues and joint hypermobility (JH) are commons features of HDCT for which the prognosis may range from benign to life threatening.

JH and HDCTs, especially joint hypermobility syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndromes and Marfan syndrome, have been associated with psychiatric symptomatology.

We explored the existing knowledge concerning this association in order to provide an overview of mental disorders linked to JH/HDCT, as well as the hypotheses proposed to explain such association.


A comprehensive search of scientific online databases and references lists was conducted, encompassing publications based on quantitative and qualitative research, including case reports.


Psychiatric conditions in which there is some evidence of an association with JH/HDCT are

  • anxiety disorders,
  • depression,
  • schizophrenia,
  • neurodevelopmental disorders (autism, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and developmental coordination disorder),
  • eating disorders,
  • personality disorders and
  • substance use/misuse.


Despite the need of more research, the available data highlight the importance of examining psychiatric symptoms in those affected by JH/HDCT and the importance of providing interventions with a multidisciplinary approach. 

The relationship between JH/HDCT and mental disorders merits further attention in order to improve current knowledge and clarify a possible common etiology.

Joint hypermobility, anxiety and psychosomatics: two and a half decades of progress toward a new phenotype. – PubMed – NCBI – Adv Psychosom Med. 2015;

The strong association between a heritable collagen condition and anxiety was an unexpected finding that we first described in 1988 at the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona. Since then, several clinical and nonclinical studies have been carried out

In this paper, after summarizing the concept and diagnosis of joint hypermobility (hyperlaxity), we review case-control studies in both directions (anxiety in joint hypermobility and joint hypermobility in anxiety disorders) as well as studies on nonclinical samples, review papers and one incidence study.

The collected evidence tends to confirm the strength of the association described two and a half decades ago.

The common mechanisms that are involved in this association include genetics, autonomic nervous system dysfunctions and interoceptive and exteroceptive processes.

Considering clinical and nonclinical data, pathophysiological mechanisms and the presented nosological status, we suggest a new Neuroconnective phenotype, which around a common core Anxiety-Collagen hyperlaxity, includes five dimensions:

  1. behavioral,
  2. psychopathology,
  3. somatic symptoms,
  4. somatosensory symptoms, and
  5. somatic illnesses.

It is envisaged that new descriptions of anxiety disorders and of some psychosomatic conditions will emerge and that different nosological approaches will be required.

The Neuroconnective model is a proposal that is under study and may be useful for clinical practice.

Neurodevelopmental attributes of joint hypermobility syndrome/Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, hypermobility type: Update and perspectives. – PubMed – NCBI – Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2015 Mar

In the last decade, increasing attention has been devoted to the extra-articular and extra-cutaneous manifestations of joint hypermobility syndrome, also termed Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, hypermobility type (i.e., JHS/EDS-HT).

Despite the fact that the current diagnostic criteria for both disorders remain focused on

  • joint hypermobility,
  • musculoskeletal pain and
  • skin changes,

medical practice and research have started investigating a wide spectrum of visceral, neurological and developmental complications, which represent major burdens for affected individuals

In particular, children with generalized joint hypermobility often present with various neurodevelopmental issues and can be referred for neurological consultation.

It is common that investigations in these patients yield negative or inconsistent results, eventually leading to the exclusion of any structural neurological or muscle disorder

In the context of specialized clinics for connective tissue disorders, a clear relationship between generalized joint hypermobility and a characteristic neurodevelopmental profile affecting coordination is emerging.

The clinical features of these patients tend to overlap with those of developmental coordination disorder and can be associated with learning and other disabilities.

2 thoughts on “EDS/Hypermobility linked to psychiatric disorders

  1. Pingback: Management of chronic pain in EDS – part 2 | EDS and Chronic Pain News & Info

  2. Pingback: hEDS Patients Face Many Physical and Mental Challenges | EDS and Chronic Pain News & Info

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