Cross sectional study on burden and psychiatric morbidity in the caregivers of patients of major psychiatric illness in a tertiary healthcare centre
M Akhilesh1, Anupama Priyamkari2, Anil Kakunje3, Ravichandra Karkal4
1 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, PK Das Medical College, Palakkad, Kerala, India
2 Junior Resident, Department of Psychiatry, Yenepoya Medical College, Mangalore, Karnataka, India
3 Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry, Yenepoya Medical College, Mangalore, Karnataka, India
4 Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Yenepoya Medical College, Mangalore, Karnataka, India
Department of Psychiatry, Yenepoya Medical College, Deralakatte, Mangalore - 575 018, Karnataka
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Introduction: Psychiatric illnesses such as bipolar affective disorder, major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and dementia can cause significant burden to patient as well as family members. About 14% of the global burden of disease is attributed to neuropsychiatric disorders. Half of the patients with psychiatric illness reported disability in all three domains of work, social, and family life.
Aims: (1) To study if caring for patients with major psychiatric illness will lead to significant caregiver's burden. (2) To find the association between caregiver's burden and psychiatric morbidity among the caregivers.
Materials and Methods: It is a cross-sectional study conducted at a tertiary care teaching hospital after obtaining institutional ethical clearance. One hundred caregivers of outpatients diagnosed with major psychiatric illness including schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder, dementia, and major depressive disorder for a period not <2 years were included in the study. The data were using recorded by means of Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview and burden assessment schedule.
Results: Caregivers of patients with major depressive disorder experienced significantly less burden than those with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Spouses of patients experienced significantly more burden compared to other family members providing care. The study also revealed that caregivers caring for patients with longer duration of illness were found to have higher chance of experiencing moderate or severe levels of burden and that, as the age of the carers increased, they were more likely to experience higher levels of burden and caregivers with lower per-capita income experienced severe burden (P = 0.022). It was observed that several carers had psychiatric morbidities with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (56.9%, n = 45) being most commonly reported. This was followed by Major Depressive episode, current at 22.5% (n = 40) and dysthymia at 17.4% (n = 31).
Conclusion: Caring for patients with major psychiatric illness leads to significant caregivers' burden. It can also lead to psychiatric morbidities among the caregivers.