A study of geriatric depression and co- morbidities among primary care patients in Benin City Nigeria

  • V.O. Abah
  • E.M. Obaze
  • D.D. Uyagu
  • K.O. Akhigbe


Depression in the elderly is very common but diagnostic rates among primary care physicians is poor. This is attributed to both patient and physician related factors. The patient factors include co-morbidities, aging and psychological mindedness which is culture related. Generally, there’s paucity of psychological complaints among the elderly. In Nigeria, patients present with physical symptoms and Culture Related Somatic Symptoms (internal heat, crawling sensations etc.). Physician awareness of geriatric depression and its distinction from aging is poor.

Aim: To define the pattern of symptoms and physical co-morbidities of geriatric depression.

Methodology: 170 consecutive elderly patients attending our clinic were recruited.The GDS-SF was used as a screening instrument and the CIS-R as diagnostic instrument. P value was set at 0.05.

Result: There was zero presentation of psychological complaints among the sample population. Culture Related Somatic Symptoms, poor sleep and weakness had significant statistical relationship with depression The pattern of physical co-morbidities in the subjects was found to be similar irrespective of depression status.

Conclusion: This study found that Culture related somatic symptoms, poor sleep and weakness are strong indicators of GD and should prompt screening for depression with standard instruments in all seniors irrespective of their physical morbidity status.

Keywords: Geriatric, depression, symptoms, geriatric depression rating scale.


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eISSN: 1596-6569