Liaison psychiatry and depression in medical inpatients

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Objective: To assess the frequency of depression among hospitalized patients, the socio-demographic variables associated with depression and the number of cases referred by physicians to Psychiatry.Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out at the Aga Khan University Hospital Karachi. An anonymous Urdu version of the WHO-developed self-reporting questionnaire (SRQ) was administered to inpatients meeting the inclusion criteria. Data was analyzed by SPSS version 13.0.RESULT: Of the 225 patients approached, 178 completed the questionnaire (men= 45.2%, women = 54.8%). The mean age of the sample was 45.2 years. Out of the total 30.5% of patients were identified as having probable depression, among which housewives were more likely to be depressed compared to others (p=0.031). Among variable comparison, there with secondary school education or below and those with psychiatric co-morbidities, showed significantly greater prevalence of depression (p=0.003) and (p=0.005) respectively. Attending physicians correctly diagnosed 7 (13%) patients and referred only 3 patients to Psychiatry over the previous month.CONCLUSION: The prevalence of depression among inpatients is comparable to that in the general population. Being a housewife, level at or below secondary school education and having a past psychiatric history are significant factors associated with depression in medical inpatients. A very small number of depressed cases were referred to a psychiatrist.


Journal of Pakistan Medical Association