Prevalence of psychiatric disorders in medical inpatients

J Nerv Ment Dis. 1996 Jan;184(1):43-51. doi: 10.1097/00005053-199601000-00008.


The aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in acutely ill medical inpatients. A total of 313 consecutively admitted patients were interviewed using a semistructured psychiatric interview. Diagnoses were made according to DSM-IV diagnostic criteria during two time periods, the 7 days following admission and the month prior to admission. The results showed that 85 patients (27.2%) received a DSM-IV diagnosis, with several patients having comorbid diagnoses. Major depressive disorder was present in 16 patients (5.1%), most of whom also had major depressive disorder in the month prior to admission. This prevalence rate is above that of the general population (1.2% to 2.8%), but less than that reported in most previous studies (20% to 40%). Forty-three patients (13.7%) had an adjustment disorder, 18 patients (5.8%) had an anxiety disorder, and 17 patients (5.4%) had either alcohol dependence or abuse. Nurses were more proficient than medical staff at identifying patients who had received a DSM-IV diagnosis, recognizing 61% of cases compared with 41% for medical staff.

MeSH terms

  • Adjustment Disorders / diagnosis
  • Adjustment Disorders / epidemiology
  • Aged
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Severity of Illness Index