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Depression and Anxiety as a Valid Issue in Geriatric Patients

Author(s): Katarzyna Porzych, Anna Polak - Szabela, Kajetan Hadzik, Martyna Porzych, Beata Augustynska, Kornelia Kedziora Kornatowska

The coexistence of depression and anxiety in the overall clinical picture is a lasting problem in the geriatric subpopulation. Anxiety-depressive disorders are the cause of numerous somatizations; they can modify the course of many diseases and complicate making a proper diagnosis. Depression is the most common emotional disorder in the elderly, often underestimated, and according to various authors, the prevalence ranges from 5 to 44%. The percentage of anxiety in geriatric patients varies from 3.2% to 21.6%. The aim of research was to determine the difference of anxiety level in hospitalized depressed patients compared with patients not suffering from depression, analysis of dependence between the anxiety level and depression exacerbations as well as researching what types of psychical and somatic signs are most often related to anxiety. The study included 60 patients of the Geriatric Clinic of Collegium Medicum UMK in Bydgoszcz aged 65 and older who did not suffer from dementia and their somatic state allowed examining them. Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) and Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA) were used as research tools. Sociodemographic data were collected using a standardized interview. The patients were divided into two groups of 30 persons based on GDS confirming depression symptoms’ presence or their lack. Analysis of the results showed a significantly higher level of anxiety in subjects with depression than in patients without depression. It defined the dominant symptoms in the mental and somatic sphere generated by anxiety, and clarified correlations between variables regarding the current life situation of patients and their level of depression and anxiety. Current international literature reports confirm that the problem of the coexistence of depression and anxiety is still valid and affects many aspects of the health situation of elderly people.

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