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Somatic symptoms vary in major depressive disorder in China

journal contribution
posted on 2018-11-01, 00:00 authored by Dongmei Zhao, Zhiguo Wu, Huifeng Zhang, David MellorDavid Mellor, Lei Ding, Haiyan Wu, Chuangxin Wu, Jia Huang, Wu Hong, Daihui Peng, Yiru Fang
PURPOSE: This study aimed to investigate the clinical characteristics of somatic symptoms of patients in China who suffer from major depressive disorder (MDD). METHOD: 3273 patients who met the diagnostic criteria of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) MDD were recruited from 16 general hospitals and 16 mental health centers in China. Physicians and patients completed complementary customized depression disorder symptomatology questionnaires assessing the clinical characteristics of patients with MDD. RESULT: 1. In this study we analyzed physician-recorded data. The major somatic symptoms in patients with MDD in China were insomnia (64.6%), pre-verbal physical complaints (46.9%), weight loss (38.5%), low appetite (37.6%), circulatory system complaints (31.3%), headache (31.3%), hyposexuality (31.0%), gastrointestinal symptom complaints (29.6%), and respiratory system complaints (29.6%). 2. Compared with MDD patients who sought medical help from mental health centers, MDD patients who sought medical help from general hospitals were more likely to suffer from urinary system complaints, headache, sensory system complaints, trunk pain, and nervous system complaints. A lower prevalence rate of insomnia and hyposexuality was also observed among MDD patients who visited general hospitals (p < .05). 3. Patients aged from 40 to 54 had the highest probability of pre-verbal physical complaints, respiratory system complaints, trunk pain, hyposexuality, limb pain and other pain conditions, while patients over 55 years of age had the lowest prevalence respiratory system complaints, hyposexuality, and other pain conditions, and they also had the highest rate of low appetite and insomnia. 4. Female patients appeared to exhibit higher rates of pre-verbal physical complaints, low appetite, and insomnia than male patients, but had fewer urinary systems complaints than male patients (p < .05). CONCLUSION: The major somatic symptoms in patients with MDD in China are insomnia, pre-verbal physical complaints, weight loss, low appetite, circulatory system complaints, headache, hyposexuality, gastrointestinal system complaints, and respiratory system complaints. These symptoms vary by the type of medical setting to which patients present, and well as by age, and gender.



Comprehensive psychiatry






Amsterdam, The Netherlands







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C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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