Author(s): Uwakwe R
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To determine the mental morbidity rate and types of disorders in elderly patients admitted to non-psychiatric wards of a teaching hospital in Nigeria; the ability of the non-psychiatrists to recognise the mental disorders was also assessed. METHOD: All subjects aged 60 years and above who were admitted into the medical, surgical and gynaecological wards were assessed with the Self-Reporting Questionnaire, Mini Mental State Examination and the Geriatric Mental State Schedule. Diagnoses of mental disorders were made with the ICD-10 Diagnostic Criteria for Research. The patients' case records were then examined to determine the medical and any mental disorder diagnoses made by the attending physicians. The data were analysed by the SPSS/PC(+) computer package. RESULTS: The mental morbidity rate was 45.3\% with depression being the commonest disorder, followed by organic disorders (delirium and dementia), adjustment disorder and generalised anxiety disorder. There were also cases of alcohol and drug abuse. The physicians recognised only 2.8\% of the mental disorders and referred one dementia patient to the mental health team. The negative predictive value for the physicians was poor. CONCLUSION: Non-psychiatrist medical practitioners in Nigeria need adequate training in mental health to enhance their ability to recognise psychiatric disorders. Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
This article was published in Int J Geriatr Psychiatry
and referenced in Journal of Psychiatry