Depression in relation to anxiety, obsessionality and phobia among neurosurgical patients with a primary brain tumor: a 1-year follow-up study

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2011 Oct;113(8):649-53. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2011.05.006. Epub 2011 Jun 12.


Depression is found to be present in up to 44% of brain tumor patients during their illness process. Anxiety as a comorbid psychiatric disorder with depression has formerly been studied, but phobia or obsessive-compulsive symptoms among brain tumor patients have not yet been noticed. By using a clinical prospective database of primary brain tumor patients (n=77) we studied the level of depression, anxiety, obsessionality (traits and symptoms) and phobic anxiety symptoms. Psychiatric symptoms were assessed before tumor operation as well as at three months and at one year after operation. The presence of comorbid anxiety, obsessionality and phobic anxiety symptoms was assessed before operation and at follow-ups in depressed and non-depressed patients, separately. Before tumor operation 16% of the patients had depression according to Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), while 10% had depression at three months and 15% at one year after operation. The depressed patients had statistically significantly higher anxiety scores and phobic scores at all three measurement points compared to corresponding scores among non-depressed brain tumor patients. The mean obsessionality scores among depressed brain tumor patients were significantly higher when measured before operation and at one year after the operation compared to non-depressed patients. To our knowledge, this is the first study so far in which comorbidity of psychiatric symptoms has been shown among depressive brain tumor patients. Concurrent comorbid conditions have been shown to be associated with increased severity, morbidity and chronicity of depression. It is recommended that treatment of depressive patients complicated with comorbid psychiatric disorders be planned by psychiatric units.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / complications
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / complications
  • Brain Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / complications
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Neurosurgical Procedures*
  • Obsessive Behavior / complications
  • Obsessive Behavior / epidemiology
  • Obsessive Behavior / psychology*
  • Phobic Disorders / complications
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / psychology
  • Preoperative Period
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed