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The pattern of mental disorders in private general practice: A six months experience at Aguata, Nigeria

R Uwakwe


To determine the pattern of mental disorders in a private (general) practice in a selected Nigerian community, a cross- sectional, descriptive study was conducted. Two hundred and nine patients seen by a general practitioner (GP), and 291 patients (total 500) seen by a psychiatrist were retrospectively and prospectively studied respectively with ICD-10 symptom check list. Diagnoses of mental disorders were made with ICD-10 and the general practitioners ability to detect mental disorders was examined. The mental morbidity rate was 9.2%. The commonest identified mental disorder was undifferentiated somatoform disorder, followed by inorganic insomnia, depression and generalized anxiety disorder which respectively constituted 39.1%, 13.0%, 10.9%, 10.9% of all the psychiatric diagnoses. The agreement on positive cases between the GP and the psychiatrist was 0.02, agreement on negative cases 0.9 with an over all concordance rate of 94.3%. The GP as a mental case detector had a sensitivity of 29.4%. There is a substantial burden of mental disorders in private general practice which are likely to go undetected. Psychiatric education of doctors needs to be improved.

Journal of Biomedical Investigation 2004;2(1): 34-41
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eISSN: 1597-0043