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Level of awareness and treatment of anxiety and depression during pregnancy in southeast Nigeria

Ezeme M. Sunday
Paul C. Okoli
Vincent O. Dinwoke


Background: Anxiety and depressive disorders are somewhat masked by features of pregnancy; hence many women are ignorant of them and are untreated.
Aim: To determine the level of awareness and treatment of anxiety and depression in pregnancy.
Setting: The study was carried out at the antenatal clinic of Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria.
Method: This was a cross-sectional and descriptive study of 200 pregnant women in consecutive attendance of the antenatal clinic using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and a sociodemographic questionnaire.
Results: Of the participants, 23.5% had anxiety and/or depression, 7.5% of them were aware of their condition and only 0.5% of all the participants or 6.7% of those who were aware of their problem received treatment.
Conclusion: Anxiety and depression are prevalent among pregnant women. Because of overlap of symptoms of anxiety and depression with those of pregnancy, the awareness is very low; hence many of them suffer  immensely without treatment.