High Prevalence of Depression and Anxiety Symptoms among Hospitalized Geriatric Medical Inpatients: A study from a Tertiary Level Hospital in Nepal

Main Article Content

Aditya Kumar
Santosh Raj Sharma
Santosh Timalsina
Smith Giri
Vijay Yadav




Depression and Anxiety symptoms are widely prevalent in the geriatric population and the prevalence is higher in those suffering from any kind of medical illness. Although the prevalence of anxiety and depression among elderly medical patients have been evaluated in a few studies from developed countries in Europe and the Americas, data from a developing country like Nepal is lacking. The main aim of our study was to estimate the burden of these psychiatric morbidities in our setting.

Materials and methods:
A cross sectional analytical study where 42 geriatric inpatients admitted to the Department of Internal Medicine of Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital during the period from April 1st to May 20th 2009 were studied for the prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms using the Beck Depression Inventory and Beck Anxiety Inventory respectively. 23 healthy geriatric community dwellers from a senior citizen centre in Kathmandu were taken as the control group. Data was analyzed using SPSS 14.0.

Significant anxiety symptoms were present in 76.1% (N=32) of the hospitalized geriatric patients and significant depressive symptoms in 57.1% (n=24) as compared to 21.7% (n=5) and 17.3% (n=4) of healthy community dwellers respectively. Between the hospitalized geriatric medical inpatients and elderly healthy community dwellers, there was statistically significant differences in anxiety scores (F=26.06, p<0.01) and depression scores (F=22.97, p<0.01) as measured by one way analysis of variance (ANOVA).

There is a very high prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms among hospitalized geriatric medical inpatients as compared to healthy community dwellers in Nepal. Presence of these psychiatric morbidities can further exacerbate the physical illness slowing down recovery and adversely affecting a wide range of outcomes. Such a high amount of psychiatric morbidity in this population needs to be addressed by appropriate mental health interventions.