OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to validate a new case-finding instrument for common mental disorders (CMDQ). METHODS: A cross-sectional, stratified, two-phase study was carried out in 28 general practices in Aarhus County, Denmark. 1785 consecutive patients, 18-65 years old, consulting 38 GPs with a new health problem participated. Patients were screened before consultation using a one-page screening questionnaire including subscales for somatisation (SCL-SOM and Whiteley-7), anxiety (SCL-ANX4), depression (SCL-DEP6) and alcohol abuse (CAGE). A stratified subsample of 701 patients was interviewed using the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry (SCAN) interview. We tested the external validity of the scales using the SCAN interview as gold standard. All data were analysed using appropriate weighted procedures to control for the two-phase sampling design and non-response bias. RESULTS: Estimates of sensitivity and specificity for relevant ICD-10 diagnoses at theoretical optimal cut-off points on subscales: Depressive disorder: 78/86 (SCL-DEP6); Alcohol abuse or dependence: 78/97 (CAGE); Severe anxiety disorder: 77/85 (SCL-ANX4); Somatisation disorder: 83/56 (SCL-SOM); and 75/52 (Whiteley-7); any mental disorder: 72/72 (SCL-8). At the theoretical optimal cut-off points the CMDQ demonstrated higher diagnostic accuracy than GPs on any diagnosis evaluated. CONCLUSION: The study results suggest that the CMDQ has excellent external validity for use as a diagnostic aid in primary care settings.
BACKGROUND: Somatisation is highly prevalent in primary care (present in 25% of visiting patients) but often goes unrecognised. Non-recognition may lead to ineffective treatment, risk of iatrogenic harm, and excessive use of healthcare services. AIM: To examine the effect of training on diagnosis of somatisation in routine clinical practice by general practitioners (GPs). DESIGN OF STUDY: Cluster randomised controlled trial, with practices as the randomisation unit. SETTING: Twenty-seven general practices (with a total of 43 GPs) in Vejle County, Denmark. METHOD: Intervention consisted of a multifaceted training programme (the TERM [The Extended Reattribution and Management] model). Patients were enrolled consecutively over a period of 13 working days. Psychiatric morbidity was assessed by means of a screening questionnaire. GPs categorised their diagnoses in another questionnaire. The primary outcome was GP diagnosis of somatisation and agreement with the screening questionnaire. RESULTS: GPs diagnosed somatisation less frequently than had previously been observed, but there was substantial variation between GPs. The difference between groups in the number of diagnoses of somatisation failed to reach the 5% significance (P = 0.094). However, the rate of diagnoses of medically unexplained physical symptoms was twice as high in the intervention group as in the control group (7.7% and 3.9%, respectively, P = 0.007). Examination of the agreement between GPs' diagnoses and the screening questionnaire revealed no significant difference between groups. CONCLUSION: Brief training increased GPs' awareness of medically unexplained physical symptoms. Diagnostic accuracy according to a screening questionnaire remained unaffected but was difficult to evaluate, as there is no agreement on a gold standard for somatisation in general practice.
Comment In: Br J Gen Pract. 2003 Dec;53(497):914-514960212
BACKGROUND: Research on questionnaires as screening tools for psychiatric disorders has yielded conflicting results. AIM: To examine the effect of a routinely administered questionnaire on recognition of common psychiatric disorders in general practice. DESIGN OF STUDY: Randomised controlled trial. SETTING: Twenty-eight general practices in Aarhus County, Denmark. METHOD: Thirty-eight general practitioners (GPs) and 1785 consecutive patients, aged 18-65 years old, presenting with a new health problem, participated. Before consultation, patients were screened using a brief screening questionnaire (SQ) including somatisation, anxiety, depression, and alcohol abuse scales. Patients were randomised to one of two groups: 900 questionnaires were disclosed and scored by the GPs, 885 were blinded. A stratified subsample of 701 patients was interviewed after the consultation using a standardised psychiatric research interview (SCAN). RESULTS: Overall the GPs' recognition rates were 14% (95% confidence interval [CI] = -2 to 30) better for depression and 35% (95% CI = 2 to 68) better for alcohol problems when SQs were disclosed. Recognition rates for anxiety improved 8% (95% CI = -9 to 26) overall. In the case of somatoform disorders, disclosure showed no effect overall. Among those with high SQ scores, however, disclosure increased recognition rates on any mental disorder evaluated. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated limited usefulness for routine screening for common psychiatric disorders. However, findings suggest that the SQ may be useful for case-finding among a subgroup of patients with high SQ scores.
Consecutively admitted internal medical inpatients (N=294) who were psychiatrically assessed with the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry in a two-phase design were followed up in a review of public files on their use of medical care over 18 months. Self-rated outcome was assessed from health and fitness ratings at admission and after 1 year. ICD-10 mental disorders had a statistically significant impact on the risk (odds ratio) of high use (above the 80th percentile) of primary care, as did ICD-10 anxiety/depression, and worry about illness (as assessed by the Whiteley-7 Scale). The authors found a less-than-significant tendency for mental illness to influence the use of inpatient admissions and self-rated outcome.
BACKGROUND: Prevalence and co-occurrence of mental disorders is high among patients consulting their family general practitioner (GP) for a new health problem, but data on diagnostics and socio-demographics are sketchy. METHOD: A cross-sectional two-phase epidemiological study. A total of 1785 consecutive patients with new complaints, aged 18-65 years, consulting 28 family practices during March-April 2000 in Aarhus County, Denmark were screened, in the waiting room, for mental and somatic symptoms with SCL-8 and SCL-Somatization questionnaires, for illness worry with Whitely-7 and for alcohol dependency with CAGE. In a stratified random sample of 701 patients, physician interviewers established ICD-10 diagnoses using the SCAN interview. Prevalence was calculated using weighted logistic regression, thus correcting for sample skewness. RESULTS: Half of the patients fulfilled criteria for an ICD-10 mental disorders and a third of these for more than one group of disorders. Women had higher prevalence of somatization disorder and overall mental disorders than men. Men had higher prevalence of alcohol abuse and hypochondriasis than women. Psychiatric morbidity tended to increase with age. Prevalence of somatoform disorders was 35.9% (95% CI 30.4-41.9), anxiety disorders 164% (95% CI 12.7-20.9), mood disorders 13.5% (95% CI 11.1-16.3), organic mental disorders 3.1% (95% CI 1.6-5.7) and alcohol abuse 2.2% (95% CI 1.5-3.1). Co-morbidities between these groups were highest for anxiety disorders, where 89% also had another mental diagnosis, and lowest for somatoform disorders with 39%. CONCLUSIONS: ICD-10 mental disorders are very prevalent in primary care and there is a high co-occurrence between most disorders. Somatoform disorders, however, more often than not exist without other mental disorders.
The objective of the present study is to estimate the economic consequences of somatization disorder and functional somatic syndromes such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, defined as bodily distress syndrome (BDS), when mindfulness therapy is compared with enhanced treatment as usual.
A total of 119 BDS patients were randomized to mindfulness therapy or enhanced treatment as usual and compared with 5950 matched controls. Register data were analyzed from 10years before their inclusion to 15-month follow-up. The main outcome measures were disability pension at the 15-month follow-up and a reduction in total health care costs. Unemployment and sickness benefit prior to inclusion were tested as possible risk factors.
At 15-month follow-up, 25% from the mindfulness therapy group received disability pension compared with 45% from the specialized treatment group (p=.025). The total health care utilization was reduced over time in both groups from the year before inclusion (mean $5325, median $2971) to the year after inclusion (mean $3644, median $1593) (p=.0001). This overall decline was seen in spite of elevated costs due to assessment and mindfulness therapy or enhanced treatment as usual. The BDS patients accumulated significantly more weeks of unemployment and sickness benefit 5 and 10years before inclusion (p
To conduct a feasibility and efficacy trial of mindfulness therapy in somatization disorder and functional somatic syndromes such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic fatigue syndrome, defined as bodily distress syndrome (BDS).
We randomized 119 patients to either mindfulness therapy (mindfulness-based stress reduction and some cognitive behavioral therapy elements for BDS) or to enhanced treatment as usual (2-hour specialist medical care and brief cognitive behavioral therapy for BDS). The primary outcome measure was change in physical health (SF-36 Physical Component Summary) from baseline to 15-month follow-up.
The study is negative as we could not demonstrate a different development over time for the two groups (F(3,2674)=1.51, P=.21). However, in the mindfulness therapy group, improvement was obtained toward the end of treatment and it remained present at the 15-month follow-up, whereas the enhanced treatment as usual group achieved no significant change until 15-month follow-up. The change scores averaged half a standard deviation which amounts to a clinically significant change, 29% changed more than 1 standard deviation. Significant between-group differences were observed at treatment cessation.
Mindfulness therapy is a feasible and acceptable treatment. The study showed that mindfulness therapy was comparable to enhanced treatment as usual in improving quality of life and symptoms. Nevertheless, considering the more rapid improvement following mindfulness, mindfulness therapy may be a potentially useful intervention in BDS patients. Clinically important changes that seem to be comparable to a CBT treatment approach were obtained. Further research is needed to replicate or even expand these findings.
OBJECTIVE: The narrow ICD-10 and DSM-IV definition of hypochondriasis makes it rarely used yet does not prevent extensive diagnosis overlap. This study identified a distinct hypochondriasis symptom cluster and defined diagnostic criteria. METHOD: Consecutive patients (N=1,785) consulting primary care physicians for new illness were screened for somatization, anxiety, depression, and alcohol abuse. A stratified subgroup of 701 patients were interviewed with the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry and questions addressing common hypochondriasis symptoms. Symptom patterns were analyzed by latent class analysis. RESULTS: Patients fell into three classes based on six symptoms: preoccupation with the idea of harboring an illness or with bodily function, rumination about illness, suggestibility, unrealistic fear of infection, fascination with medical information, and fear of prescribed medication. All symptoms, particularly rumination, were frequent in one of the classes. Classification allowed definition of new diagnostic criteria for hypochondriasis and division of the cases into "mild" and "severe." The weighted prevalence of severe cases was 9.5% versus 5.8% for DSM-IV hypochondriasis. Compared with DSM-IV hypochondriasis, this approach produced less overlap with other somatoform disorders, similar overlap with nonsomatoform psychiatric disorders, and similar assessments by primary care physicians. Severe cases of the new hypochondriasis lasted 2 or more years in 54.3% of the subjects and 1 month or less in 27.2%. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that rumination about illness plus at least one of five other symptoms form a distinct diagnostic entity performing better than the current DSM-IV hypochondriasis diagnosis. However, these criteria are preliminary, awaiting cross-validation in other subject groups.
Functional symptoms and disorders are common in primary care. Bodily distress syndrome (BDS) is a newly proposed clinical diagnosis for functional disorders. The BDS diagnosis is based on empirical research, and the symptoms stated in the BDS criteria have been translated into a self-report questionnaire called the BDS checklist. The aim of the present study was to investigate the psychometric properties of the checklist and to test the construct of BDS.
The 30-item BDS checklist was completed by 2480 adult primary care patients in a cross-sectional study on contact and disease patterns in Danish general practice. We performed (internal) validation analyses of the collected checklist data. We also performed factor and latent class analyses to identify both BDS symptom groups and BDS patient groups.
Internal validation analyses revealed acceptable and usable psychometric properties of the BDS checklist. The factor analyses identified the four distinct determining factors for BDS: cardiopulmonary, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal and general symptoms. Results from factor and multi-trait analyses suggested a shortening of the BDS checklist (from 30 to 25 items). The latent class analyses resulted in three severity levels (no, moderate and severe BDS); the best fit index was found for a threshold of =4 symptoms in a symptom group.
The results provide empirical support for the previously described construct of BDS with four symptom groups and three patient groups. The BDS checklist is a self-report instrument that may be used for case finding in both clinical practice and in research.
Hypochondriasis is prevalent in primary care, but the diagnosis is hampered by its stigmatizing label and lack of valid diagnostic criteria. Recently, new empirically established criteria for Health anxiety were introduced. Little is known about Health anxiety's impact on longitudinal outcome, and this study aimed to examine impact on self-rated health and health care costs.
1785 consecutive primary care patients aged 18-65 consulting their family physicians (FPs) for a new illness were followed-up for two years. A stratified subsample of 701 patients was assessed by the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry interview. Patients with mild (N = 21) and severe Health anxiety (N = 81) and Hypochondriasis according to the DSM-IV (N = 59) were compared with a comparison group of patients who had a well-defined medical condition according to their FPs and a low score on the screening questionnaire (N = 968). Self-rated health was measured by questionnaire at index and at three, 12, and 24 months, and health care use was extracted from patient registers. Compared with the 968 patients with well-defined medical conditions, the 81 severe Health anxiety patients and the 59 DSM-IV Hypochondriasis patients continued during follow-up to manifest significantly more Health anxiety (Whiteley-7 scale). They also continued to have significantly worse self-rated functioning related to physical and mental health (component scores of the SF-36). The severe Health anxiety patients used about 41-78% more health care per year in total, both during the 3 years preceding inclusion and during follow-up, whereas the DSM-IV Hypochondriasis patients did not have statistically significantly higher total use. A poor outcome of Health anxiety was not explained by comorbid depression, anxiety disorder or well-defined medical condition. Patients with mild Health anxiety did not have a worse outcome on physical health and incurred significantly less health care costs than the group of patients with a well-defined medical condition.
Severe Health anxiety was found to be a disturbing and persistent condition. It is costly for the health care system and must be taken seriously, i.e. diagnosed and treated. This study supports the validity of recently introduced new criteria for Health anxiety.
Cites: Am J Psychiatry. 1993 Mar;150(3):484-88434667