Background Most of the previous clinical researches published payed more attention to study depressive disorders and/or symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Fewer research studies were done to investigate the prevalence of anxiety in patients with RA patients.
Objectives This study was performed to investigate whether anxiety disorder is as common as depressive disorder in RA patients and to look for the sociodemographic as well as the clinical characteristics of the patients developing these disorders.
Methods A detailed physical assessment of 80 patients with RA was performed. Also psychiatric assessment was done using Research Diagnostic Criteria for the International Classification of Disease (ICD-10). In addition, patients answered a Health Assessment Questionaire (HAQ) to assess their functional capacity.
Results Depression was diagnosed in 66.25% of the total sample while anxiety was diagnosed in 70%. Functional disability, social stress and morning stiffness were the factors highly associated with depression. Using multiple regression analysis, anxiety was also highly associated with depression. On the other hand, Ritchie articular index as well as depression were positively associated with anxiety disorder.
Conclusion Psychiatric illness is a relatively common disorder in patients with RA, with frequency higher than that of other general medical conditions. Anxiety is a more common disorder than depression. The first step in correct management is recognition of anxiety and depression so that appropriate treatment can be tried. Particular attention has to be paid to social stress and lack of social support.
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