Psychological morbidity in interstitial lung disease: a study from India
Evaluation of mental health in chronic lung diseases like interstitial lung disease (ILD) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has always been neglected and underrated. The aim of the study was to determine the psychological morbidity in patients of ILD and to determine its various socio-clinical and psychological correlates. A cross-sectional clinic based descriptive study with 50 ILD patients, 30 COPD patients and 30 healthy controls was undertaken. Psychological distress was assessed using different psychological scales, like General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12), Patient Distress Thermometer (PDT), Coping Strategy Checklist (CSCL), WHO Quality of Life-Brief-26 (WHOQOL-Bref-26) and Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS). The patients with a GHQ-12 score of ≥3 were considered as experiencing psychological distress and additionally referred to consultant psychiatrist for further detailed evaluation and management. Fifty-eight percent of ILD patients and 60% of COPD patients experienced psychological distress after screening with GHQ-12; 40% of all the ILD and COPD patients were ultimately diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, after evaluation by the psychiatrist. Patients of ILD and COPD had significantly higher scores on GHQ-12, CSCL and DASS, and significantly lower scores on WHOQOL-Bref-26 when compared with healthy controls. However, these scores, including PDT did not differ significantly between ILD and COPD patients. The scores on all these scales in the patients of ILD and COPD who were experiencing psychological distress (GHQ ≥3) were significantly poorer than those without psychological distress (GHQ<3). GHQ-12 emerged as an excellent predictor of psychological morbidity. Various other psychological scales correlated with GHQ-12 and amongst each other in both the groups experiencing psychological distress. GHQ-12 and other different scales also significantly correlated with the different clinical indicators in ILD as well as COPD patients having psychological distress. Psychological distress and poorer quality of life was present in a significant percentage of ILD patients, and was comparable to that seen in COPD. Mental health evaluation should be incorporated in the routine management of these patients. Simple, easy and brief screening tools like GHQ-12 can be of immense help.
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