Hidden depression in otolaryngology patients with medically unexplained symptoms

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. Mar-Apr 2012;34(2):206-8. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2011.09.014. Epub 2011 Nov 4.


Objective: To investigate the prevalence of depression among otolaryngology patients with medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) and the outcome of treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Method: Ninety patients with MUS from a population of 983 consecutive otolaryngology outpatients were enrolled. The Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS) was used to screen for depression. In addition to standard treatment, all depressed and nondepressed patients received SSRIs for 8 weeks. The Clinical Global Impression-Improvement (CGI-I) scale was used to evaluate clinical changes in patients with MUS.

Results: There were 49 patients with depression among those with MUS, according to the SDS criteria. The patients with depression showed a better outcome than those without depression, demonstrating more significantly improved CGI-I scores.

Conclusion: More than half of the individuals with otolaryngological MUS had depression, and their MUS were successfully treated with SSRIs.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Otolaryngology*
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Somatoform Disorders*


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors