Gender variation of somatic symptoms of depression as possible indicators of its diagnosis and severity

M. G. Ramesh, B. Sathian, B. M. Shreevatsa, R. Bedanta, K. Ramesh, Y. Budhachandra, N. S. Baboo

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Depression is a common mental health problem around the world and is responsible for a wide range of problems in all the aspects of a person's functioning. It is the 4th in the list of the most urgent health problems worldwide, as per the World Health Organization (WHO) and its lifetime prevalence is around 10-25% for women and 5-12% for men. Several studies estimate the prevalence for major depression as around 5%, making it one of the most common clinical problems. Among them, only around 10% are referred to psychiatric services and get treated, but many others suffer in silence and solitude. The present study was carried out in 131 patients who were diagnosed as having depression according to the Structured Clinical Interview for ICD. The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was routinely administered as part of the standard intake assessment battery. When patients scored >1 on each of the four somatic BDI items, they were considered as having moderate to severe somatic depression. Descriptive statistical methods and confidence intervals were used to find out the severity of the symptoms among males and females. There were 65 (98.5%) females and 56 (94.9%) men who could be classified as having somatic depression and 1 (1.5%) female and 3 (5.1%) men who were classified as having non-somatic depression. The somatic symptoms of depression are always associated with the pathophysiological changes in the brain. There are evidences that changes in the cortisol, nor adrenalin (NE) and serotonin activities cause abnormal physiological activity of the brain, which is responsible for the somatic symptoms in depression. In the present study, a significant difference was found in appetite and fatigue in moderate to severely depressed female patients than in the males. Therefore, the somatic symptoms can be considered as indices while diagnosing depressive disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3094-3099
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 25-11-2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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