Article Text


Depression and functional bowel disorders in gastrointestinal outpatients.
  1. J D Rose,
  2. A H Troughton,
  3. J S Harvey,
  4. P M Smith


    Although depression has been linked with both the irritable bowel syndrome and non-organic abdominal pain, which are common in gastrointestinal outpatients, the prevalence of depression in most surveys of outpatient practice has been low. Use of the Beck Depression Inventory to screen new referrals to a general medical and gastrointestinal clinic and to a minor surgical clinic showed that 50 of 100 medical patients were rated as having some degree of depression, compared with 14 of 75 (19%) of the surgical patients in whom abdominal pain and bowel dysfunction were rare (X2 = 9.6, p less than 0.01). In the medical clinic no organic disorder was detected in 64% of the depressed patients, the majority of whom presented with abdominal pain or irritable bowel syndrome. Depression was significantly commoner in this group of patients than in those with other conditions, (X2 = 6.63, p = 0.01). That depression is common in gastrointestinal outpatients is not always appreciated and its symptoms should be sought in all patients with bowel dysfunction and chronic abdominal pain.

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