Physical disorders among Southeast Asian refugee outpatients with psychiatric disorders

Karen Ta, Joseph Westermeyer, John Neider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The study assessed the prevalence and duration of axis III physical disorders and the resulting level of disability among Southeast Asian refugee outpatients with axis I psychiatric disorders. Methods: A total of 266 consecutive patients who were evaluated in a psychiatric outpatient clinic were assessed for the presence of axis III conditions through questions about physical symptoms, a medical history and review of records, physical examination, and laboratory screening. The sample included 158 Hmong, 58 Laotian, 43 Vietnamese, and seven Cambodian patients. Results: Fifty-five percent of the patients had one or more axis III disorders, most of which were chronic and were not associated with extreme disability. Neurological conditions were most common, and the sequelae of war-related trauma were prominent. No associations were found between the presence of axis III conditions and age, gender; marital status, or ethnic group. In 48 cases, the axis III condition may have caused or exacerbated the axis I condition. Conclusions: Routine medical history and a physical examination, including a neurological examination, are recommended for all psychiatric patients, including outpatients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)975-979
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatric Services
Volume47
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1996

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