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Anxiety and Depression: A Study of People with Leprosy In Sokoto, North- Western Nigeria

Abdulfatai T Bakare*, Abdulkarim J Yusuf, Zaharadeen G Habib and Ayodele Obembe

Background: This study was prompted by the heightened reports of anxiety and depression among people with skin diseases in clinical settings.

Aim: To determine the prevalence of anxiety and depression among people with leprosy and identify associated socio-demographic and clinical variables.

Materials and Methods: This is a 2-stage cross-sectional study among leprosy patients living in a leprosy camp in Sokoto, North-Western Nigeria. The instruments used are General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) and the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Data were analysed using the 15th version of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS 15).

Results: All the 235 participants that met the inclusion criteria were interviewed. Female gender, older age at onset of illness, having no spouse, unemployment, longer duration of illness, shorter years of primary/quranic education and non-completion of the full treatment course of Multiple Drug Therapy (MDT) showed significant association with various psychiatric disorders in this study. Thirty-three (14%) had moderate depressive episode, 13 (5.5%) had severe depressive episode, 45 (19.2%) had generalized anxiety disorder and 21 (8.9%) had mixed anxiety and depressive disorder.

Conclusion: Certain socio-demographic and clinical factors strongly associated with depression and anxiety in people with leprosy.Therefore, the need for psychiatric evaluation among people with leprosy cannot be overemphasized as this will provide holistic approach in the management of the patients.