Prevalence and characteristics of depression in a Japanese leprosarium from the viewpoints of social stigmas and ageing. A preliminary report

Masaki Nishida, Y. Nakamura, N. Aosaki

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Objective: To investigate the prevalence and characteristics of depressed patients living in a Japanese leprosarium who have been isolated by national law and are now becoming very elderly. Methods: We surveyed the prevalence of depressed patients living in the National Tamazenshouen Sanatorium, a major leprosarium in Japan. We also investigated the characteristics of patients who had suffered a depressive episode during the last 5 years (2000-2004). The characteristics of residents who committed suicide were also studied. Results: At the time of the investigation, 48 out of 385 (12.5%) patients were depressed or had experienced a depressive episode. Forty-one residents had committed suicide since the leprosarium was established in 1907. Somatic symptoms and depressive moods were the predominant symptoms and were not limited to symptoms unique to leprosy. The period of isolation was not statistically correlated with the GDS-SF or PGC morale scale scores. Conclusion: The findings of this study emphasize the importance of consultation psychiatric for elderly leprosy residents and could be used as a reference for treatment in countries with ageing leprosy residents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-209
Number of pages7
JournalLeprosy Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Sep 1


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases

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