Prevalence of Anxiety and Depression among People Living with Leprosy and its Relationship with Leprosy-Related Stigma
Background: Leprosy, a chronic infectious disease, is associated with a high risk of psychiatric disorders.
Aims and Objectives: We aim to estimate the prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms among people living with leprosy at a special community residence in Nepal. We also aimed to find the correlation between anxiety and depression.
Materials and Methods: This is a cross-sectional descriptive study conducted in a community of people with leprosy staying at a centre in Nepal using all enumerative sampling. The semi-structured schedule, hospital anxiety and depression scale and stigma assessment and reduction of impact (SARI) stigma scale were applied among 119 participants.
Results: About 10.1% (n = 12) and 12.6% (n = 15) of participants scored above the threshold score indicative of definitive clinically significant anxiety and depression symptoms. In multivariable analysis, leprosy-related stigma and attribution of leprosy to bad deeds were significant correlates of anxiety; whereas leprosy-related stigma and duration of stay at the centre were significant correlates of depression.
Conclusion: The prevalence of depression and anxiety symptoms among people living with leprosy is higher than that in the general population. Sigma is a significant correlation for both. It is important to screen for mental health issues while managing patients with leprosy and implement strategies aimed at leprosy-related stigma reduction.