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Report reveals mental disorders of patients
By Zhang Feng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-04 06:26

Nearly one fourth of people suffering a disease have symptoms of psychological problems including depression and anxiety, a research report has revealed.

And 39 to 73 per cent of the patients with such symptoms are eventually diagnosed with depression or anxiety.

The research was conducted among 2,400 patients suffering a variety of ailments such as stroke, Parkinson's disease, heart and blood vessel problems, as well as those with digestive, gynaecological and obstetric trouble.

The patients were invited to complete a form Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HAD) as they saw doctors in 12 general hospitals from April 2004, to February 2005.

All the hospitals are of a large scale and located in the four major cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, according to the report by the Chinese Medical Association.

Doctors found that 20 to 25 per cent of the respondents had symptoms of depression or anxiety, said Yu Xin, director of the Mental Health Institute of Peking University.

These symptoms include a lack of interest and enthusiasm in life, nervousness, a lurking dread, and insomnia. Moderate and immediate depression and anxiety is normal, but over a long period of time, they can develop into psychological disorders that encourage physical illness, said Yu.

He said 15 per cent of the depression patients may ultimately commit suicide.

He also revealed that women are twice as likely than men to suffer from depression and anxiety.

The report says that more than 26 per cent of the postnatal women who responded to the questionnaire would eventually be diagnosed with depression or anxiety.

A survey conducted before 2003 in Beijing shows that 7 per cent of general patients suffered from depression and 15 per cent were victims of anxiety, said Yu.

The report shows strikingly that the symptoms suggesting a psychological disorder are ignored by doctors in more than 90 per cent of patients who have anxiety or depression issues.

Generally speaking, both doctors and patients in these hospitals focus solely on diseases of the body instead of the mind, said Yu.

To change the situation, a training programme was announced yesterday by the Chinese Medical Association and GlaxoSmithKline (China) Investment Co Ltd. It aims to support doctors in general hospitals to uncover more depression and anxiety problems among patients with diseases to the body.

(China Daily 04/04/2005 page2)

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