Original Research

Depression, anxiety and stress symptoms in patients presenting with dyspepsia at a regional hospital in KwaZulu-Natal province

Sijabulisiwe J. Tshabalala, Andrew Tomita, Suvira Ramlall
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 25 | a1382 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v25i0.1382 | © 2019 Sijabulisiwe J. Tshabalala, Andrew Tomita, Suvira Ramlall | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 February 2019 | Published: 21 October 2019

About the author(s)

Sijabulisiwe J. Tshabalala, Department of Psychiatry, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Andrew Tomita, Centre for Rural Health, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and, KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Suvira Ramlall, Department of Psychiatry, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Depression, anxiety and stress (DAS) have been shown to be co-morbid with dyspepsia. Local data on the factors associated with these co-morbidities could inform the role of psychiatric intervention in affected patients.

Aim: The aim of this study was to describe the frequency of undiagnosed DAS and their associated protective and risk correlates in a sample of patients undergoing endoscopies for dyspepsia.

Setting: The study was conducted at a regional hospital’s gastro-intestinal unit in KwaZulu-Natal province.

Method: A cross-sectional survey was conducted on 201 in- and outpatients with symptoms of dyspepsia awaiting endoscopy. Information on DAS symptomatology (using the DASS-21 screening questionnaire, as well as socio-demographic and clinical data) were collected.

Analyses: Following a descriptive analysis of the participants’ socio-demographic and clinical details, linear regression models were fitted to identify potential risk and protective correlates linked to DAS symptomatology.

Results: The mean age of participants (N = 201) was 48.89 years, of whom approximately two-thirds (n = 133; 66.17%) were women, 97% (n = 195) were African and 64.68% (n = 130) resided in rural areas. Anxiety was the most prevalent symptom category (n = 149; 74.13%) versus depression (n = 96; 47.76%) and stress (n = 68; 33.83%) in each category of symptom (mild to extremely) severity. In the severe and extremely severe range, anxiety existed without co-morbid depression or stress in 61.19% of anxious patients. Alcohol use was significantly associated with all three symptom categories (p < 0.01).

Conclusions: Given high frequencies of depression and anxiety in patients undergoing endoscopies for dyspepsia, screening for common mental disorders is essential.


Keywords

dyspepsia; depression; anxiety; stress; gut-brain

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