Impulsiveness, Mental Disorders More Prevalent in Patients with Hepatitis C

Patients treated for chronic hepatitis C have increased levels of impulsiveness that is associated with other mental disorders.

Patients treated for chronic hepatitis C have increased levels of impulsiveness that is associated with other mental disorders, according to a study published in General Hospital Psychiatry.

Bruno Cópio Fábregas, MD, and colleagues at University Hospital in Minas Gerais, Brazil observed 91 patients being treated for chronic hepatitis C. Patients were assessed using the Barrat Impulsiveness Scale (BIS), Brief Fatigue Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory, and Hamilton Anxiety Scale. Structured psychiatric interview was performed according to the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview, investigators stated.

Researchers found that impulsiveness was frequently prevalent in hepatitis C patients. “The total score of impulsiveness according to BIS in the studied population was 64.6 ± 9.8,” investigators reported. They also found lower levels of other cognitive aspects. “The scores for the non-planning, cognitive-attentional and motor domains were 23.8 ± 5, 19.4 ± 2.9, and 21.4 ± 5, respectively,” according to the researchers.

The study also declared that impulsiveness was associated with additional mental and behavioral implications. Patients being treated for hepatitis C were disproportionately affected by “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, alcohol use disorder, mixed anxiety and depressive disorder, specific phobia, bipolar spectrum disorders ,and anxiety symptoms,” researchers stated.

According to researchers, the psychiatric issues patients encounter are tied to hepatitis C treatment. They noted that impulsiveness was also associated with suicide risk in patients who were treated with interferon.

Based on their findings, Fábregas and colleagues recommend initiating additional treatment that recognizes the increased levels of impulsiveness that patients may encounter. “Impulsiveness management should be considered when attending hepatitis C patients,” they conclude.