The development of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-5 (DSM-5) has been an exhaustive and elaborate exercise involving the review of DSM-IV categories, identifying new evidence and ideas, field testing, and revising issues in order that it is based on the best available evidence. This report of the Task Force of the Indian Psychiatric Society examines the current draft of the DSM-5 and discusses the implications from an Indian perspective. It highlights the issues related to the use of universal categories applied across diverse cultures. It reiterates the evidence for mental disorders commonly seen in India. It emphasizes the need for caution when clinical categories useful to specialists are employed in the contexts of primary care and in community settings. While the DSM-5 is essentially for the membership of the American Psychiatric Association, its impact will be felt far beyond the boundaries of psychiatry and that of the United States of America. However, its atheoretical approach, despite its pretensions, pushes a purely biomedical agenda to the exclusion of other approaches to mental health and illness. Nevertheless, the DSM-5 should serve a gate-keeping function, which intends to set minimum standards. It is work in progress and will continue to evolve with the generation of new evidence. For the DSM-5 to be relevant and useful across the cultures and countries, it needs to be broad-based and consider social and cultural contexts, issues, and phenomena. The convergence and compatibility with International Classification of Diseases-11 is a worthy goal. While the phenomenal effort of the DSM-5 revision is commendable, psychiatry should continue to strive for a more holistic understanding of mental health, illness, and disease.
Culture; diagnostic and statistical manual-5; India
Despite the high prevalence and potentially disabling consequences of mental disorders, specialized mental health services are extremely deficient, leading to the so-called ‘Mental Health Gap’. Moreover, the services are concentrated in the urban areas, further worsening the rural-urban and tertiary primary care divide. Strengthening of and expanding the existing human resources and infrastructure, and integrating mental health into primary care appear to be the two major solutions. However, both the strategies are riddled with logistic difficulties and have a long gestation period. In such a scenario, telepsychiatry or e-mental health, defined as the use of information and communication technology to provide or support psychiatric services across distances, appears to be a promising answer. Due to its enormous potential, a review of the existing literature becomes imperative. An extensive search of literature was carried out and has been presented to delineate the modes of communication, acceptability and satisfaction, reliability, outcomes, cost-effectiveness, and legal and ethical challenges related to telepsychiatry. Telepsychiatry has been applied for direct patient care (diagnosis and management), consultation, and training, education, and research purposes. Both real-time, live interaction (synchronous) and store–forward (asynchronous) types of technologies have been used for these purposes. A growing amount of literature shows that training, supervision, and consultation by specialists to primary care physicians through telepsychiatry has several advantages. In this background, we have further focused on the models of telepsychiatry best suited for India, considering that mental health care can be integrated into primary care and taken to the doorstep of patients in the community.
E-mental health; mental health gap; telepsychiatry
As a pilot project, Indian Psychiatric Society conducted the first multicentric study involving diverse settings from teaching institutions in public and private sectors and even privately run psychiatric clinics.
Aim of the Study:
To study the typology of functional somatic complaints (FSC) in patients with first episode depression.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 741 patients from 16 centers across the country participated in the study. They were assessed on Bradford Somatic Symptom inventory for FSC, Beck Depression Inventory for severity of depression, and Comprehensive Psychopathological Rating Scale- anxiety index (CPRS-AI) for anxiety symptoms.
The mean age of the study sample was 38.23 years (SD-11.52). There was equal gender distribution (male - 49.8% vs. females 50.2%). Majority of the patients were married (74.5%), Hindus (57%), and from nuclear family (68.2%). A little over half of the patients were from urban background (52.9%). The mean duration of illness at the time of assessment was 25.55 months. Most of the patients (77%) had more than 10 FSCs, with 39.7% having more than 20 FSCs as assessed on Bradford Somatic Inventory. The more common FSC as assessed on Bradford Somatic Inventory were lack of energy (weakness) much of the time (76.2%), severe headache (74%) and feeling tired when not working (71%), pain in legs (64%), aware of palpitations (59.5%), head feeling heavy (59.4%), aches and pains all over the body (55.5%), mouth or throat getting dry (55.2%), pain or tension in neck and shoulder (54%), head feeling hot or burning (54%), and darkness or mist in front of the eyes (49.1%). The prevalence and typology of FSCs is to a certain extent influenced by the sociodemographic variables and severity of depression.
Functional somatic symptoms are highly prevalent in Indian depressed patients and hence deserve more attention while diagnosing depression in Indian setting.
Depression; Functional somatic complaints; India
There are very few studies from India which have evaluated the prescription pattern for antidepressants by psychiatrists for treatment of depression.
To study the psychotropic prescription patterns of patients with first episode depression from diverse settings including teaching institutions in public and private sectors and even privately run psychiatric clinics.
Materials and Methods:
Prescription data of 706 patients with first episode depression, who participated in the IPS multicentric study, were evaluated.
Escitalopram was the most commonly prescribed antidepressant, comprising 40% of the total prescriptions. This was followed by sertraline (17.6%) and fluoxetine (16.3%). In total, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) formed 79.2% of all the prescriptions. Tricyclic antidepressants formed a small part (15.15%) of total prescriptions, with imipramine being the most commonly used tricyclic antidepressant. Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (venlafaxine, desvenlafaxine and duloxetine) were prescribed to 11.3% of patients with equal share of venlafaxine and duloxetine. About one-sixth (N=104; 14.7%) of the patients were prescribed more than one antidepressant. Nearly three-fourth of the patients (N=523; 74.1%) were prescribed a benzodiazepine, with clonazepam being the most preferred agent, prescribed to nearly half of the participants (49%) and formed nearly two-third of the total benzodiazepine prescriptions (346 out of 523).
Escitalopram is the most commonly prescribed antidepressant and SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressants. Poly pharmacy in the form of concomitant use of two antidepressants is practiced infrequently. However, benzodiazepines are used quite frequently as the co-prescription.
Antidepressants; depression; prescriptions
Though deliberate self-harm encompasses a wide variety of medical and social disciplines some of the important psychosocial variable such as life events, social support, coping strategies, and quality of life have not yet been explored in depth in India.
The aim was to analyze and compare the type and severity of life events, coping strategies, social support, and quality of life of suicide attempters versus matched normal controls, and to identify the risk factors leading to suicide.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 50 consecutive suicide attempters were compared with same number of age, sex, and martial status matched healthy controls using Presumptive Stressful Life Events Scale, Social Support Questionnaire, AECOM Coping Style Scale, and WHO QOL-Bref.
Attempters experienced significantly more life events especially untoward events whereas the control group experienced more desirable and impersonal life events. Social support, positive coping, and of QOL were significantly lower in attempters. Among all risk factors desirable life events, good education, and good social support were protective against suicide.
Suicide attempters were differentiated from healthy controls based on more stressful life events, lower social support, less healthy coping, and poor QOL. Positive life events, good education, and good social support were protective factors against suicide. However, it is difficult to pinpoint a single factor responsible for suicidal behavior. It is the complex interplay of various interrelated factors and the resultant buffering effect, which is protecting the individual against deliberate self-harm.
Coping; deliberate self harm; life events; quality of life; social support
About 12-24% of children with specific learning disability (SpLD) have co-occurring attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to “parent-proxy reports”, co-occurring “untreated” ADHD adversely impacts the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of children with newly diagnosed SpLD, especially in their psychosocial functioning.
To analyze the impact of “untreated” co-occurring ADHD on the “self-perceived” HRQoL of children with “newly diagnosed” SpLD.
Setting and Design:
Cross-sectional questionnaire-based study in a learning disability clinic situated in a medical college.
Materials and Methods:
From February 2008 to December 2008, 136 consecutive children newly diagnosed as having “SpLD with co-occurring ADHD (SpLD/ADHD)” or “SpLD only” were enrolled. The DISABKIDS chronic generic module (DCGM-37-S (V31)) instrument was used to measure their HRQoL. DCGM-37-S (V31) mean facet and total scores were computed for “SpLD/ADHD” and “SpLD only” children groups and compared using independent samples t-test.
HRQoL of “SpLD/ADHD” children was significantly better in limitation facet (mean difference: 8.20; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.75-15.29; P=0.024). Although not statistically significant, the HRQoL of “SpLD/ADHD” children was better in independence, emotion, social inclusion and social exclusion facets; and in total score.
“SpLD/ADHD” children perceive their physical functioning to be significantly better. Also their perceptions of their psychosocial functioning are better. Contrary to parent-proxy reports, co-occurring “untreated” ADHD does not adversely impact the self-perceived HRQoL of children with “newly diagnosed” SpLD.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; dyslexia; quality of life; scholastic backwardness; students
Psychiatric morbidity may be highly prevalent in transverse myelitis (TM), but data on this aspect are limited.
To assess psychiatric morbidity in a clinical sample of patients with idiopathic TM compared to patients with a recent stroke.
Materials and Methods:
Consecutive patients with idiopathic TM and stroke (30 each) underwent two-stage screening with the General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12) and Structured Clinical Interview for Axis I DSM-IV Disorders – Clinician Version (SCID I-CV), and ratings of depression, disability levels, and cognitive impairment.
Seventy percent of the patients with TM scored above the cut-off on the GHQ; 30% had a positive diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder. Major depression (17%) was the commonest psychiatric disorder. Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores indicated cognitive impairment in 23% of patients with TM. Higher GHQ-12 scores were associated with greater disability. These results were similar to those obtained among patients with stroke.
A high prevalence of psychological distress and psychiatric morbidity was found in idiopathic TM. This morbidity was associated with greater disability.
Psychiatric morbidity; stroke; transverse myelitis
Stress has touched almost all professions posing threat to mental and physical health. India being the Information Technology (IT) hub with lakhs involved as IT Professionals, there is a need to assess prevalence of professional stress, depression and problem alcohol use and understand their association.
(1) To screen for the prevalence of professional stress, risk for depression and harmful alcohol use among software engineers. (2) To study the association between professional stress, risk for depression and harmful alcohol use.
Materials and Methods:
This is a cross-sectional online study conducted using screeing questionnaires like professional life stress scale, centre for epidemiological studies depression scale and alcohol use disorders identification test. This study was conducted specifically on professionals working in an IT firm with the designation of a software engineer.
A total of 129 subjects participated in the study. 51.2% of the study sample was found to be professionally stressed at the time of the interview. 43.4% of the study population were found to be at risk for developing depression. 68.2% of those who were professionally stressed were at risk for developing depression compared with only 17.5% of those who were not professionally stressed. Odds ratio revealed that subjects who were professionally stressed had 10 times higher risk for developing depression compared to those who were not professionally stressed. Subjects who were professionally stressed had 5.9 times higher prevalence of harmful alcohol use compared to those who were not professionally stressed. Subjects who were at risk for developing depression had 4.1 times higher prevalence of harmful alcohol use compared with those who were not at risk for developing depression.
Such higher rates of professional stress, risk for developing depression and harmful alcohol use among software engineers could hinder the progress of IT development and also significantly increase the incidence of psychiatric disorders.
Alcohol use; alcohol use disorders identification test; depression; depression and alcohol use; IT professionals; occupational stress; professional stress; software engineers; stress; stress among IT professionals; stress and alcohol use; stress and depression; work place stress
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is known to be associated with depression. We hypothesized that RLS in depression is linked to the severity, duration, and frequency of depressive episodes.
Materials and Methods:
Subjects fulfilling DSM-IV-TR criteria of depressive disorders were included in this study after seeking informed consent. Using structured interview of MINI-Plus their demographic data and history were recorded. Severity of depression was assessed with the help of HAM-D. Insomnia was diagnosed following ICSD-2 criteria. RLS was diagnosed according to IRLSSG criteria. Descriptive statistics, Chi-square test, independent sample t test and MANOVA were computed with the help of SPSS v 17.0.
RLS was reported by 31.48% of sample. There was no gender difference in prevalence of RLS (X2 =0.46; P=0.33). There was no difference in the age , total duration of depressive illness and number of depressive episodes between RLS and non-RLS groups (F=0.44; P=0.77; Wilk's Lambda=0.96). The HAM-D score was higher in the non-RLS group (P=0.03). Onset of RLS symptoms was not related to onset of depressive symptoms.
RLS is prevalent in depressive disorder. However, onset of RLS is unrelated to age and number or duration of depressive disorders.
Adults; depression; prevalance; restless leg syndrome
The Sri Lankan government employs graduates from local universities (trained in nonpsychiatry disciplines) as Mental Health Development Officers (MHDOs) to fulfill the role of a psychiatric social worker.
Materials and Methods:
This was a prospective interventional cohort study on preventing relapses of schizophrenia by active involvement of MHDOs. The intervention (randomly selected) and control groups each had 25 follow-up patients with schizophrenia (1:1 match for sex, ethnicity, age, and duration of illness). The intervention was to develop a close liaison with the patient/family and build an individualized client oriented follow-up through the MHDOs. The follow-up period was 1 year.
The intervention group had better clinic attendance, less relapses, and defaults. The number needed to follow-up to avert a relapse or a default was 12.5 and 5 respectively.
Low-cost strategies involving nonspecialist staff can reduce relapses and defaults in patients with schizophrenia.
Prevention; relapses; schizophrenia; social workers
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a very common gastrointestinal dysfunction. Despite strong evidence of high prevalence of depression and anxiety in IBS there is very limited research on this in India.
Materials and Methods:
Cases of IBS and controls with non-ulcerative dyspepsia were recruited from a gastroenterology clinic in Mumbai, India. Presence of anxiety disorder and depression were assessed by using the Hamilton Anxiety rating scale and Hamilton Depression rating scale respectively. Prevalence rates of anxiety and depression were established and Odds Ratio (OR) was calculated to determine the association of depression and anxiety disorders with IBS.
In IBS cases, the prevalence of depression and anxiety disorder was 37.1% and 31.4% respectively. In patients with IBS the OR for depression was 6.3 (95% CI 1.6-24.74, P=0.009) and the OR for anxiety disorder was 7.56 (95% CI 1.53-37.29, P=0.01).
The prevalence of depression and anxiety disorder in IBS is very high. Therefore, screening of IBS patients for anxiety and depression would facilitate better interventions and consequently better outcomes.
Anxiety; depression; irritable bowel syndrome
Huntington's disease is characterized by choreic movements, psychiatric disorders, striatal atrophy with selective small neuronal loss, and autosomal dominant inheritance. The genetic abnormality is CAG expansion in Huntingtin gene. Newer therapeutic strategies are evolving to treat this progressive disorder. The neuroprotective agents are one such group of drugs being tried. Lithium has been used to treat Huntington's disease in the past due to its neuroprotective effects. Though the precise mechanism of action is not clear, Lithium can directly or indirectly modulate proteins involved in neuronal survival/differentiation which may account for its neuroprotective effects. We report three patients with Huntington's disease in whom Lithium prevented the progression of chorea and also helped stabilize mood.
Huntington's disease; lithium; neuroprotection
In recent years, there has been an increasing trend to use amisulpride in the treatment of dysthymia and also as an adjunct treatment in patients with major depression. At low doses (50 mg), amisulpride preferentially blocks presynaptic auto receptors, enhances dopamine release, and therefore acts as a dopaminergic compound able to resolve the dopaminergic hypo activity that characterizes depression. Based on experimental data, amisulpride is the drug of choice for dopaminergic transmission disorders, both in depression and in schizophrenia. This case highlights the development of dyskinesia in a depressed patient treated with low dose amisulpride and fluvoxamine.
Amisulpride; depression; movement disorder; tardive dyskinesia
Ethics is an understanding of the nature of conflicts arising from moral imperatives and how best we may deal with them. Ethics in medical research deals with the conflicts of interest across various levels. Guidelines have been proposed for standardized ethical practice throughout the globe. The four fundamental principles of ethics which are being underscored are autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence, and justice. Some special ethical issues have particular relevance to psychiatric research arising primarily from the specific vulnerabilities of those with mental illness and the risks posed by some research methodologies. Accordingly, sensitivity is required in the design of psychiatric research. It is suggested that though the value of published guidelines and the help that may be available from research ethics committees is quite great, the primary responsibility for maintaining high standards of practice in research rests with research workers themselves.
Medical ethics psychiatry; research; confidentiality; consent
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young adults worldwide. There is a growing recognition that prevention strategies need to be tailored to the region-specific demographics of a country and to be implemented in a culturally-sensitive manner. This review explores the historical, epidemiological and demographic factors of suicide in India and examines the strategies aimed at the prevention of suicide. There has been an increase in the rates of suicide in India over the years, although trends of both increases and decline in suicide rates have been present. Distinct from global demographic risk factors, In India, marital status is not necessarily protective and the female: male ratio in the rate of suicide is higher. The motives and modes of suicide are also distinct from western countries. Preventive strategies implemented at a community level and identifying vulnerable individuals maybe more effective than global strategies.
Suicide; India; epidemiology; prevention