Background Psychiatric disorders, namely depression (D) and anxiety (A) can frequently occur in course of chronic rheumatic diseases. These comorbidities remain often misdiagnosed and consequently not correctly treated.
Objectives Aims of our study are to evaluate the frequency of D and A in a hospitalized sample of rheumatic patients, and to test the efficacy of a screening by mean of questionnaires to detect D and A.
Methods 100 consecutive patients affected by rheumatic diseases were evaluate using the Italian version of Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Sheehan Patient Rated Anxiety Scale (SPRAS).
Furthermore, a clinical psychiatric evaluation was performed by rheumatologist’s decision or when questionnaires were positive.
Results Of 100 patients studied 28% were affected by arthritis, 38% by connective tissue disease, 22% by vasculitis, 12% by miscellanea. Mean age was 57.2±11.4 years, 82% were females, 68% were married, 10.4% lived alone, 11.2% were unable to work because of their disease, 29.4% underwent a psychopharmacological therapy at the moment of the hospitalization.
BDI score was suggestive for D (>17) in 17/100 (17%), but only in 12/100 (12%) D was confirmed by psychiatris evaluation; in the same way, SPRAS score was suggestive for A (>30) in 21/100 (21%) and the diagnosis was confirmed by the psychiatrist in 16/100 (16%).
On the whole, 31 psychiatric visits were performed (18 because of questionnaires, 9 after rheumatologist’s prescription + questionnaires, 4 after rheumatologist’s prescription only); D and/or A was diagnosed in 22/100 (22%) and an appropriate psychopharmacological therapy was consequently prescribed (78% SSRI + BDZ).
Conclusions Depression and anxiety were frequently detected in our population, with a percentage respectively of 12% and 16%.
A screening performed using questionnaires is useful to identify a psychiatric comorbidity in these patients; in fact, in our study it proved to have an higher sensitivity than the only rheumatologic evaluation.
Nevertheless, because of the presence of false positive results, a psychiatric visit is always necessary to confirm the diagnosis.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared