Background: The purpose of the study was to assess the frequency and characteristics of psychological distress, even after adequate treatment, in the heterogeneous population of an endocrine outpatient clinic. Methods: 146 endocrine patients (31 males/115 females; age 39.4 ± 12.5 years), who were cured or in remission, were studied in a university endocrine outpatient clinic. Semistructured clinical interviews to assess psychiatric (Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV) and psychological (Diagnostic Criteria for Psychosomatic Research, DCPR) diagnoses were employed and were supplemented by self-rated instruments (the Psychosocial Index and the Medical Outcome Study short form General Health Survey) which could provide the patients’ perception of their own quality of life. Results: There were 118 patients (81%) who presented with at least 1 psychiatric (DSM-IV) or psychological (DCPR) diagnosis. The most frequent diagnostic findings were generalized anxiety disorder (29%), major depression (26%), irritable mood (46%), demoralization (34%) and persistent somatization (21%). By self-rated instruments, patients with at least 1 DSM-IV or DCPR diagnosis reported significantly more stressful life circumstances, psychological distress and an impaired quality of life compared to those who had none. Conclusions: A high prevalence of psychological distress may be encountered in the long-term follow-up of endocrine patients. A biopsychosocial consideration of the person and his/her quality of life appears to be mandatory for improving therapeutic effectiveness in endocrine disorders.

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