Prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms in men with erectile dysfunction

K Pankhurst, G Joubert, P J Pretorius


Objectives. To determine the prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms in men presenting to a sexual dysfunction clinic in Bloemfontein with erectile dysfunction (ED); to determine the relationship, if any, between age and mood/anxiety symptoms in such patients; and to make clinicians aware of the co-morbidity of anxiety/mood symptoms and ED.

Methods. An observational analytical study was undertaken of 100 consecutive male patients of all ages presenting with ED (with a score less than 20 on the 5-item intensity scale for ED). Age, race, marital and employment status were noted as well as social habits including smoking and alcohol use. The presence of known medical conditions and surgical procedures was ascertained. All current prescription medication was recorded. Panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalised anxiety disorder and social phobia were rated using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview, while the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression was used to rate depressive symptoms.

Results. Thirty-three per cent of respondents had depressive symptoms, and of this group 36% had a co-morbid anxiety disorder. In total, 21% of patients had an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders were more common with moderate to severe ED. No anxiety disorders occurred in patients with mild ED. The majority of participants suffering from severe ED were evenly spread in age from 30 to 69 years. Participants suffering from moderate to severe ED were more likely to have medical conditions, most notably hypertension.

Conclusion. The results of this study suggest that men suffering from ED are likely to have a co-morbid psychiatric disorder (42%), with the prevalence of depressive symptoms (33%) and anxiety disorders (21%) being higher than in the general population. Significant concomitant medical conditions (most notably hypertension) were more common in men with moderate to severe ED.

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Submitted: 07 August 2008
Published: 01 September 2005

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South African Journal of Psychiatry    |    ISSN: 1608-9685 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2078-6786 (ONLINE)