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Anxiety and depression in patients with self-reported food hypersensitivity.

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2010 January - February;32(1):42-48

Authors: Lillestøl K, Berstad A, Lind R, Florvaag E, Arslan Lied G, Tangen T

OBJECTIVE: Self-reported food hypersensitivity (SFH) is common. Psychological factors are assumed to be associated. We assessed anxiety and depression in SFH patients, using both questionnaires and interview. METHODS: Consecutive patients (n=130) and randomly selected healthy volunteers (n=75) completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), the neuroticism scale of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ-N) and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ). Seventy-six of the patients were also interviewed by use of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview and the Montgomery-Aasberg Depression Rating Scale. All patients underwent extensive allergological, gastroenterological and dietary examinations. RESULTS: According to interviews, 57% of patients fulfilled the DSM-IV criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder. Anxiety disorders (34%) and depression (16%) predominated. According to questionnaires, patients scored significantly higher than controls on all psychometric scales except for depression (HADS). We also found an underreporting of depression in HADS compared with interviews (2.5% vs. 16%, P=.001). Food hypersensitivity was rarely confirmed by provocation tests (8%). Eighty-nine percent of the patients had irritable bowel syndrome. CONCLUSIONS: Anxiety and depression are common in patients with IBS-like complaints self-attributed to food hypersensitivity. Anxiety disorders predominate. In this setting, depression may be underreported by HADS.

PMID: 20114127 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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