Background: Depression and anxiety are frequently associated with functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID), inducing personal suffering and a decreased quality of life. There is limited data in patients with NETs. Therefore, adequate research identifying the prevalence of these mood disorders among GI patients and NETs are necessary to inform holistic clinical management. Further, due to the nature of hospital clinics being fast-paced, quick and effective screening tools are needed. We aimed to identify the prevalence rates of depression and anxiety among NET and FGID outpatients and to assess the psychometric validity of Emotional Thermometers (ETs) as screening tools for these mood disorders.
Methods: A correlational cross-sectional design was implemented under the 1000-lives-plus methodology for the screening of depression in general gastroenterology clinics. Data was collected from 88 individuals attending FGID and South Wales GEP-NET out-patient clinics via tools consisting of the Patient Health Questionnaire 2 (PHQ-2), PHQ -9 (PHQ-9), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Emotional Thermometers (ETs).
Results: Mean age was 54.8. Results indicated that 1 in 23 (49.78%) patients met diagnostic criteria of depression and anxiety. Four phases of uncertainty were identified regarding GEP-NET patients, however rates of moderate to severe depression and anxiety were higher among FGID patients (27.59 vs. 9.09, t =2.20; 10.35 vs. 4.55, t=0.89). Patients with NETs had a higher prevalence of mild anxiety in comparison to the general gastroenterology clinic (HADS-A) (22.73 vs. 6.90). Further, both multiple and logistic regressions, alongside receiver operating characteristic curves showed only the depression ET to be statistically validated when assessed against the PHQ-9 and HADS.
Conclusion: Depression and anxiety are significant co-morbidities in those with NETs and FGID, often due to the physical and psychological consequences of their illness and delays in diagnosis. Whilst this study holds the strength of being the only research to identify mood disorders within NET populations, it is recommended that future research adopts a longitudinal design, whilst possibly using the current research as a base to build upon.