Depression and anxiety in urban hemodialysis patients

Daniel Cukor, Jeremy Coplan, Clinton Brown, Steven Friedman, Allyson Cromwell-Smith, Rolf A Peterson, Paul L Kimmel
Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: CJASN 2007, 2 (3): 484-90
Depression is well established as a prevalent mental health problem for people with ESRD and is associated with morbidity and mortality. However, depression in this population remains difficult to assess and is undertreated. Current estimates suggest a 20 to 30% prevalence of depression that meets diagnostic criteria in this population. The extent of other psychopathology in patients with ESRD is largely unknown. The aim of this study was to expand the research on psychiatric complications of ESRD and examine the prevalence of a broad range of psychopathology in an urban hemodialysis center and their impact on quality of life. With the use of a clinician-administered semistructured interview in this randomly selected sample of 70 predominately black patients, >70% were found to have a psychiatric diagnosis. Twenty-nine percent had a current depressive disorder: 20% had major depression, and 9% had a diagnosis of dysthymia or depression not otherwise specified. Twenty-seven percent had a current major anxiety disorder. A current substance abuse diagnosis was found in 19%, and 10% had a psychotic disorder. The mean Beck Depression Inventory score was 12.1 +/- 9.8. Only 13% reported being in current treatment by a mental health provider, and only 5% reported being prescribed psychiatric medication by their physician. A total of 7.1% had compound depression or depression coexistent with another psychiatric disorder. The construct of depression was also disentangled from the somatic effects of poor medical health by demonstrating a unique relationship between depressive affect and depression diagnosis, independent of health status. This study also suggests the utility of cognitive variables as a meaningful way of understanding the differences between patients who have ESRD with clinical depression or other diagnoses and those who have no psychiatric comorbidity. The findings of both concurrent and isolated anxiety suggest that the prevalence of psychopathology in patients with ESRD might be higher than previously expected, and the disorders may need to be treated independently. In addition, the data suggest that cognitive behavioral therapeutic techniques may be especially advantageous in this population of patients who are treated with many medications.

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