Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 233-240

Association of help-seeking behavior with depression and anxiety disorders among gastroenterological patients in Saudi Arabia

1 Department of Psychiatry, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
2 College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Fahad D Alosaimi
Department of Psychiatry, King Saud University, PO Box 7805, Riyadh - 11472
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1319-3767.136977

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Background/Aims: There is a high prevalence of depression and anxiety disorders among gastroenterological outpatients. Relatively few studies have been done on the help-seeking behavior among those who suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms with or without psychiatric disorders. We aimed to characterize the help-seeking behavior of gastroenterological outpatients and to evaluate if this behavior is linked to the presence of depression and anxiety. Patients and Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out in gastroenterology clinics in four hospitals in Riyadh between February and September 2013. A self-administrated questionnaire was developed and administered to patients. Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7) questionnaires were used to diagnose depression and anxiety, respectively. Results: A total of 440 patients completed the study questionnaire. The average age was 36.0 ± 12.8 years and 69% of the patients were males. Complaints included abdominal pain (58%), heartburn (29%), diarrhea or constipation (25%), appetite or weight changes (22%), and nausea or vomiting (16%). Depression was diagnosed in 36%, while anxiety was diagnosed in 28% of the patients. The first intervention was use of medications (68%) and undergoing endoscopy (16%), while few patients initially used herbs or Islamic incantation (7.5%). This first intervention was done primarily (59%) in private sector hospitals rather than government sector hospitals (36%). The rates of depression and anxiety in our patients were higher among those who suffered from multiple complaints for longer durations and with less satisfaction with the offered services. Conclusion: Depression and anxiety are common comorbidities in gastroenterological outpatient population, especially those who have a chronic course of multiple gastrointestinal complaints.

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