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Isr Med Assoc J. 2007 May;9(5):361-4.

Asthma and psychiatric disorders in male army recruits and soldiers.

Author information

1
Division of Pediatrics, Soroka University Hospital, Israel. shirafi@netvision.net.il

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Numerous studies have shown an association between asthma and mental disorders. While elevated rates of asthma have been noted among psychiatric patients with anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder, several studies have found elevated rates of mental disorders among asthma patients. Such studies, however, have generally relied upon questionnaires and assessment by non-specialist physicians to diagnose mental disorders and asthma.

OBJECTIVES:

To examine a possible association between asthma and psychiatric diagnoses in Israeli military recruits and soldiers.

METHODS:

In this cross-sectional study we compared the prevalence of mental diagnoses in asthmatic recruits and soldiers with that in non-asthmatic recruits and soldiers. A total of 195,903 recruits and soldiers were examined by Israel Defense Forces recruiting offices and fitness boards. Diagnoses of asthma were based on a pulmonologist's diagnosis, including spirometry at rest and exercise testing as indicated; diagnoses of mental disorders were based on examination by a psychiatrist.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of asthma was found to be 7.8% (current) and 9.8% (lifetime). The prevalence of mental disorders was 13.4%. Current asthma was associated with an increased likelihood of any mental disorder (OR = 1.20, 95% Cl = 1.15-1.26), and specifically with mood and anxiety disorders (1.31, 1.19-1.46), introvert personality disorders (1.20, 1.12-1.28) and adjustment disorder (1.43, 1.26-1.62). Lifetime asthma was associated with an increased likelihood of the same disorders, but the association was not as powerful.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results validate the previously documented association between asthma and mental disorders, using a sample of unprecedented size and improved methodology. A multidisciplinary approach to asthma that incorporates mental health professionals in the treatment of poorly controlled asthma and perhaps of asthma in general is recommended.

PMID:
17591373
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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