Depression and anxiety in patients with hepatitis C: prevalence, detection rates and risk factors

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. Nov-Dec 2005;27(6):431-8. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2005.06.006.


Objective: We examined a group of patients awaiting interferon treatment for hepatitis C to estimate the prevalence and detection rates of and risk factors for mood disorders.

Methods: The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders: Clinician Version was used to detect psychiatric disorder. Self-completion instruments were used to rate symptom severity, subjective cognitive function, work and social adjustment, stigma, acceptance of illness and treatment satisfaction.

Results: The 90 participants included 23 women (26%); 33 (37%) had contracted hepatitis C iatrogenically, 42 (47%) through injecting drug use and the remainder (17%) were of unknown origin. There was a 28% 1-month prevalence of depressive disorders, 72% of whom were previously undiagnosed, and a 24% prevalence of anxiety disorders, 86% previously undiagnosed. Current methadone maintenance was strongly associated with risk of depression (odds ratio, 5.0; 95% CI, 1.08-23.0). After adjustment for age and sex, depression was associated with poorer work and social adjustment, lower acceptance of illness, higher illness stigma, poorer reported thinking and concentration, and higher levels of subjective physical symptoms (all P < .05). Anxiety disorders were uncorrelated with any risk factor.

Conclusions: Depression and anxiety have high prevalences in hepatitis C, and are largely undetected and treated. Depression, but not anxiety, is associated with adverse experiences of illness.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C / complications
  • Hepatitis C / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Ireland / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors