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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00263

Psychiatric Comorbidity in Neurological Disorders: Towards a Multidiciplinary Approach to Illness Management in the United Arab Emirates

 Taoufik Alsaadi1,  Seada Kassie1*,  Ola Mohamed Ali1, Khaldoun Mozahem1, Safana Al Fardan2 and Ahmed M. Ahmed1
  • 1American Center for Psychiatry and Neurology, United Arab Emirates
  • 2Shaikh Khalifa Medical City, United Arab Emirates


Aim: to determine the prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders in undiagnosed patients attending neurological services, and detect rates of referral to and attendance of psychiatric services

Methods: Depressive symptoms and anxiety were assessed in 395 adult patients with primary diagnoses of neurological disorders. The Patient Health Questionnaire nine-item (PHQ-9) depression scale, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder seven-item (GAD-7) scale were administered. Demographic details of the patients were recorded. Referral to and attendance of psychiatric services were recorded for patients scoring within the clinical range of depression and anxiety disorders (scores >10).

Results: There was a 39% prevalence rate of depressive symptoms, 34% rate of anxiety, and 35.4% concurrent rate of both disorders in this cohort. The referral rate to psychiatric services was 33.6% and attendance rate was 47.8%. There was significant association between severity of psychiatric symptoms and referral to psychiatric services, as well as significant association between comorbid psychiatric symptoms and attendance to psychiatric services.

Conclusion: Our results indicate similar prevalence rates of comorbid psychiatric symptoms to studies carried out in the Middle-east and North Africa (MENA) region and relatively high attendance and referral rates to psychiatric services.

Implications: The results shed light on the clinical profile of patients in this region and support the need for integrated collaborative medical services. Moreover, findings have important implications on health care policies pertaining to resource distribution and funding.

Keywords: Psychiatric comorbidity, neurological disorders, Illness management, multidisciplinary approach, integrated collaborative medical services, United Arab Emirates

Received: 28 Oct 2018; Accepted: 08 Apr 2019.

Edited by:

Zoe Fisher, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Wissam El-Hage, Université de Tours, France
Scott T. Aaronson, Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Alsaadi, Kassie, Mohamed Ali, Mozahem, Al Fardan and Ahmed. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Ms. Seada Kassie, American Center for Psychiatry and Neurology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates,