Psychological distress among patients with organophosphorus or paraquat poisoning
Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ruhuna and
South Asian Clinical Toxicology Research Collaboration, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, LK
Introduction: Recognition of psychological distress following intentional self poisoning is important. The most widely used screening test for psychological distress is the Goldberg's General Health Questionnaire (GHQ). It is available in versions as short as 12 items (GHQ-12) and as long as 60 (GHQ-60).
Objective: The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of psychological distress among patients with self poisoning with organophosphorus (OP) or paraquat (PQ) pesticides admitted to the General Hospital, Matara and the Teaching Hospital, Galle.
Method: A case control study was conducted with matched controls. A self-administered validated Sinhala translation of the 12-item Goldberg's General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) was used as a general screening test to identify psychological distress. A score >15 indicates evidence of psychological distress and a score >20 is suggestive of severe psychological problems and distress. A score >15 is also considered as positive GHQ-12. :
Results: GHQ-12 was administered to 143 (99 OP, 44 PQ) patients and 70 controls. Mean (SD) ages of the test and control group were 34 (14) and 33 (12) is respectively. The prevalence of psychological distress among the patients and the controls were 51% (73/143) and 10% (7/70), respectively. The median (inter-quartile range) of GHQ-12 scores among patients and controls were 16 (11 23) and 8 (5 11), respectively (P< 0.001).
Conclusions: This study indicates the high prevalence of psychological distress among patients with self poisoning with OP or PQ and emphasizes the need of assessment, support and if required treatment in needy cases.