High Prevalence of Mental Disorders and Emotional Distress in Patients with Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria
Petra Staubach, Markus Dechene, Martin Metz, Markus Magerl, Frank Siebenhaar, Karsten Weller, Peter Zezula, Annegret Eckhardt-Henn , Marcus Maurer
Quality of life, which is impaired in patients with chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU), is influenced by comorbid mental disorders. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and spectrum of mental disorders and to determine levels of emotional distress in patients with CSU. One hundred patients with CSU were investigated for mental disorders (by specialized diagnostic interviews and psychometric instruments), levels of emotional distress (by the Global Severity Index of the Symptom Check List; SCL-90R GSI) and underlying causes of their urticaria (by dermatological assessment). Forty-eight percent of patients with CSU were diagnosed with one or more psychosomatic disorders; most common were anxiety
disorders (especially phobias), followed by depressive and somatoform disorders. The use of psychometric instruments confirmed these findings. Levels of emotional distress were significantly higher and more commonly increased in patients with CSU with mental disorders. In conclusion, patients with CSU frequently experience anxiety, depression, and somatoform disorders, and these disorders are linked to increased emotional distress. These findings call for screening of patients with CSU for mental disorders in routine clinical practice as well as for controlled clinical trials.