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Psychiatric disorders among veterans with hepatitis C infection.

el-Serag HB, Kunik M, Richardson P, Rabeneck L. Psychiatric disorders among veterans with hepatitis C infection. Gastroenterology. 2002 Aug 1; 123(2):476-82.

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BACKGROUND and AIMS: The presence of psychiatric, drug-, and alcohol-use disorders in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients may influence their management and prognosis. The frequency and the risk for these disorders among HCV-infected patients are unknown. METHODS: We identified all HCV-infected veteran patients who were hospitalized during 1992-1999 and searched the inpatient and outpatient computerized files for predefined psychiatric, drug-, and/or alcohol-use disorders. We then performed a case-control study among Vietnam veterans; controls without HCV were randomly chosen from hospitalized patients. RESULTS: We identified 33,824 HCV-infected patients, in whom 86.4% had at least one past or present psychiatric, drug-, or alcohol-use disorder recorded. However, only 31% had active disorders as defined by hospitalization to psychiatric or drug-detoxification bed sections. There were 22,341 HCV-infected patients from the Vietnam period of service (cases) who were compared with 43,267 patients without HCV (controls). Cases were more likely to have depressive disorders (49.5% vs. 39.1%), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (33.5% vs. 24.5%), psychosis (23.7% vs. 20.9%), bipolar disorder (16.0% vs. 12.6%), anxiety disorders (40.8% vs. 32.9%), alcohol (77.6% vs. 45.0%), and drug-use disorders (69.4% vs. 31.1%). In multivariable regression analyses that adjust for age, sex, and ethnicity, drug use, alcohol-use, depression, PTSD, and anxiety remained strongly associated with HCV. CONCLUSIONS: Several psychiatric, drug-, and alcohol-use disorders are commonly found among HCV-infected veterans compared with those who are not infected. At least one third of these patients have active disorders. A multidisciplinary approach to the management of HCV-infected patients is needed.

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