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PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e51167. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051167. Epub 2012 Dec 5.

Persistence of psychological distress in surgical patients with interest in psychotherapy: results of a 6-month follow-up.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Campus Charité Mitte and Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Charité - University Medicine Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

This prospective observational study investigated whether self-reported psychological distress and alcohol use problems of surgical patients change between preoperative baseline assessment and postoperative 6-month follow-up examination. Patients with preoperative interest in psychotherapy were compared with patients without interest in psychotherapy.

METHODS:

A total of 1,157 consecutive patients from various surgical fields completed a set of psychiatric questionnaires preoperatively and at 6 months postoperatively, including Patient Health Questionnaire-4 (PHQ-4), Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), World Health Organization 5-item Well-Being Index (WHO-5), and Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT). Additionally, patients were asked for their interest in psychotherapy. Repeated measure ANCOVA was used for primary data analysis.

RESULTS:

16.7% of the patients were interested in psychotherapy. Compared to uninterested patients, they showed consistently higher distress at both baseline and month 6 regarding all of the assessed psychological measures (p's between <0.001 and 0.003). At 6-month follow-up, neither substantial changes over time nor large time x group interactions were found. Results of ANCOVA's controlling for demographic variables were confirmed by analyses of frequencies of clinically significant distress.

CONCLUSION:

In surgical patients with interest in psychotherapy, there is a remarkable persistence of elevated self-reported general psychological distress, depression, anxiety, and alcohol use disorder symptoms over 6 months. This suggests high and chronic psychiatric comorbidity and a clear need for psychotherapeutic and psychiatric treatment rather than transient worries posed by facing surgery.

PMID:
23227250
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3515556
Free PMC Article
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