Clinical presentation of depression among Malaysian women in Penang Island

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Objectives: To identify the aetiology and clinical presentation of depression among Malaysian women.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at the Psychiatry Clinic, Public Hospital, Pulau Penang, Malaysia. Retrospective evaluations of records were conducted between January 2002 and December 2007. The data were analysed using the statistical software, SPSS v. 13®.

Results: Ninety-six (56.8%) of the patients were Chinese, the mean (± SD) age of the patients was 45 ± 17.8 years, with a majority (72; 42.6%) aged over 50 years. The incidence of depression with comorbid hypertension and comorbid diabetes mellitus was significant among women aged over 50 (P < 0.001 (hypertension) P < 0.015 (diabetes mellitus)). Marital and relationship problems were found to significantly affect Chinese women aged 15–30 years (P = 0.019). In terms of the clinical presentation of depression among Malaysian women, suicidal ideation and somatic symptoms like reduced energy/being easily fatigued were more frequent among Chinese.

Conclusion: Symptoms of being short-tempered, crying, restless and doubtful/distracted should not be neglected in primary care because of the possibility of mental health disorders. The timely evaluation of diabetic and hypertensive patients is an ideal strategy to prevent mental health disorders.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: College of Clinical Pharmacy, King Faisal University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 2: Dean, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University Sains Malaysia, Malaysia 3: Programme Chairman, Discipline of Social and Administrative Pharmacy, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University Sains Malaysia, Malaysia 4: Department of Psychology, Government College for Women, Wah Cantt, Pakistan

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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