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Psychiatric Morbidity among Subjects with Leprosy and Albinism in South East Nigeria: A Comparative Study

CM Attama
R Uwakwe
GM Onyeama
MN Igwe


Background: Skin, which is the largest organ in the body, carries immense psychological significance. Disfiguring skin disorders may impact negatively on the mental health of individuals. Aim: This study compared the psychiatric morbidity of subjects with leprosy and albinism.

Subjects and Methods: One hundred subjects with leprosy and 100 with albinism were interviewed. Sociodemographic questionnaire and General Health Questionnaire (GHQ.28) assessed the sociodemographic  characteristics and psychiatric morbidity, respectively. GHQ positive cases and 10% of noncases for each group were interviewed with Mini  International Neuropsychiatric Inventory for specific ICD.10 diagnoses.

Results: Fifty.five percent (55/100) subjects with leprosy were GHQ positive cases while 41% (41/100) with albinism were GHQ positive cases. The risk of developing psychiatric morbidity was significantly higher in subjects with leprosy than in subjects with albinism (OR = 1.76, CI = 1.00 . 3.08, P = 0.04). The prevalence of specific psychiatric disorders among subjects with leprosy were depression 49% (49/100), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) 18% (18/100), alcohol/drug abuse 16% (16/100), whereas in albinism depression was 51% (51/100), GAD 27% (27/100), and alcohol/drug abuse 7% (7/100). Male, married and uneducated subjects with leprosy had  significantly higher psychiatric morbidity than the male, married and  uneducated subjects with albinism, respectively.

Conclusion: Psychiatric morbidity was higher in subjects with leprosy than in subjects with albinism. Male, married and uneducated subjects with leprosy significantly had higher morbidity than male, married and uneducated subjects with albinism respectively.

Keywords: Albinism, Leprosy, Psychiatric morbidity

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print ISSN: 2141-9248