Research Article

Psychiatric illness in inpatients with neurological disorders: patients' views on discussion of emotional problems with neurologists.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 289 doi: (Published 15 September 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;289:656
  1. K W Bridges,
  2. D P Goldberg


    The prevalence of psychiatric morbidity in inpatients with neurological disorders and the extent to which it is detected by neurologists were measured by using a two stage model of psychiatric assessment and from information recorded in the patients' medical notes. The prevalence of psychiatric morbidity was estimated as 39%, of which 72% was unrecognised by the neurologists. Only a minority of patients with an uncertain physical diagnosis had a psychiatric illness, showing the error in assuming that a patient's physical symptoms arise from a psychological disturbance if an organic aetiology cannot be determined. When the patients were interviewed on their discharge from hospital they were divided on whether they had wished to discuss their mood with neurologists while they were in hospital. The reasons that they gave suggested that interactions between patients and doctors and the lack of ward facilities for private consultations with doctors are important determinants of hidden psychiatric morbidity in medical inpatients.