Pattern of Psychiatric Referrals in a Tertiary Care Teaching Hospital in Southern India 1689-1691
Dr. B.G. Hemanth Kumar,
â€śSowmyasreeâ€ť Nilaya, New Extension, Heggere, Tumkur-572107, Karnataka, India.
Phone: +91 9448526080, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Background: There is a dearth of studies which are related to consultation-liaison psychiatry in India. The psychiatric referral rates in India are very low, considering the higher rates of psychiatric morbidity in patients who attend various departments of a hospital. Studying the pattern of psychiatric referrals may pave the way for interventions to improve the current scenario.
Methods: The study population comprised of all the patients who were referred for psychiatric consultation from other departments (both in-patient and out-patient) of the hospital over a period of two years. Data which was related to socio-demographic profile, source of referral, reason for referral and the psychiatric diagnosis were recorded and analyzed by using descriptive statistical methods.
Results: A total of 520 patients were referred for psychiatric consultation, with a referral rate of 0.42%. A majority of the psychiatric referrals (59%) were from the department of medicine and the most common reason for referral was medically unexplained somatic complaints (23.1%), followed closely by anxiety (21%) and abnormal behaviour (13.1%). The most commonly diagnosed psychiatric disorders were neurotic, stress related and somatoform disorders (41.7%) followed by mood disorders (12.9%) and substance use disorders (12.7%).
Conclusion: There is a need to encourage multi-disciplinary interaction in the management of patients who attend general hospitals, so as to better identify the psychiatric morbidity. Further studies should focus on interventions that can improve referral rates through early recognition of the common psychiatric conditions, with particular emphasis on sensitizing the general physicians, who are the most common source of psychiatric referrals.