Author(s): Dr. Abhishek Pathak,
Growing evidence suggests high levels of comorbidity between hypertension and mental illness but there is less data from lowand middle-income countries. Psychiatric co-morbidity in patients with hypertension is associated with significant functional impairment. This research was done to find out the nature, and magnitude of psychiatric morbidity in patients of essential hypertension. METHODS 100 newly detected and diagnosed patients of essential hypertension were recruited from cardiology and medicine OPD of Sir Sunder Lal Hospital, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. The most recent, standardised and globally accepted JNC-7 criteria was used to diagnose and grade the stage of hypertension. These patients were assessed on a structured format and psychiatric morbidity was diagnosed as per the DSM-IV-TR criteria. Finally, battery of standardized instruments like, HDRS and (HAM)-A was used to assess the severity and pattern of symptoms. RESULTS The presence of psychiatric morbidity in the sample was 47%. Most of the patients were diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) (30%) followed by Generalized Anxiety Disorder (17%). Psychiatric morbidity was relatively more in stage 2 hypertensive patients (66.66%) as compared to stage 1 hypertension (38.57%) and p= 0.01. Systolic and diastolic B.P. values showed positive correlation with the magnitude of the psychiatric illness. CONCLUSIONS Psychiatric morbidity is fairly common in patients with essential hypertension and was encountered in almost half (47%) of the sample. MDD is more common in patients with stage 2 hypertension and magnitude of MDD is positively related to magnitude of essential hypertension (both systolic and diastolic).