Mental, physical & functional status in primary care attenders

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the present study was to analyze the association, in primary care attenders, between psychiatric disorders, medical comorbidity, and impairment in mental and physical function status.

METHODS: The study had a two-stage design. The GHQ-12 was used to screen 1647 patients, and 323 of them were then interviewed using the CIDI-PHC to obtain ICD-10 diagnoses. Severity of mental illness was assessed using the Hamilton scales for anxiety and depression. The DUSOI was used to evaluate the severity of physical illness. The MOS SF-36 was used to assess health related quality of life.

RESULTS: The estimated prevalence of ICD-10 psychiatric disorders and subthreshold disorders was 12.4 percent and 18 percent respectively. The most common psychiatric disorders were generalized anxiety, major depression, and neurasthenia. The severity of physical illness did not vary across diagnostic status categories. Significant impairment, both in physical and mental functioning was seen in patients suffering from ICD-10 full-fledged and subthreshold disorders. Severity of impairment increased from sub-threshold cases to full-fledged cases, and among the latter according to the severity of depressive and anxious symptoms, assessed using Hamilton scales. The most frequent psychiatric disorders were associated with significant worsening in health related quality of life, with relevant differences between psychiatric diagnoses regarding the domains affected. Impairment associated with mental disorders was greater than that associated with physical illness.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of the present study confirm that ICD-10 psychiatric disorders are common in general practice and are associated with relevant impairment in physical and mental functional status. Psychiatric morbidity is not related to severity of physical illness rated by general practitioner.

Berardi D, Berti Ceroni G, Leggieri G, Rucci P, Ustun B, Ferrari G

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