Proposed new diagnoses of anxious depression and bodily stress syndrome in ICD-11-PHC: an international focus group study

Proposed new diagnoses of anxious depression and bodily stress syndrome in ICD-11-PHC: an international focus group study. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]

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This paper, published on July 28, discusses field testing of two proposed categories for the forthcoming Primary Care version of ICD-11, “anxious depression” and “bodily stress syndrome (BSS)”.

“Bodily stress syndrome (BSS)” is currently proposed to replace ICD10-PHC’s “F45 Unexplained somatic complaints” which is the equivalent to ICD-10’s “F45 Somatoform Disorders” section.

For ICD11-PHC, it is proposed not to include the discrete category “Neurasthenia,” which would be subsumed under another category.

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Family Practice (2012) doi: 10.1093/fampra/cms037

First published online: July 28, 2012


Lam TP, Goldberg DP, Dowell AC, Fortes S, Mbatia JK, Minhas FA, Klinkman MS

Proposed new diagnoses of anxious depression and bodily stress syndrome in ICD-11-PHC: an international focus group study. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]

Fam Pract 2012 Jul 28.

BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization is revising the primary care classification of mental and behavioural disorders for the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11-Primary Health Care (PHC)) aiming to reduce the disease burden associated with mental disorders among member countries.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the opinions of primary care professionals on proposed new diagnostic entities in draft ICD-11-PHC, namely anxious depression and bodily stress syndrome (BSS).

METHODS: Qualitative study with focus groups of primary health-care workers, using standard interview schedule after draft ICD-11-PHC criteria for each proposed entity was introduced to the participants.

RESULTS: Nine focus groups with 4-15 participants each were held at seven locations: Austria, Brazil, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Pakistan, Tanzania and United Kingdom. There was overwhelming support for the inclusion of anxious depression, which was considered to be very common in primary care settings. However, there were concerns about the 2-week duration of symptoms being too short to make a reliable diagnosis. BSS was considered to be a better term than medically unexplained symptoms but there were disagreements about the diagnostic criteria in the number of symptoms required.

CONCLUSION: Anxious depression is well received by primary care professionals, but BSS requires further modification. International field trials will be held to further test these new diagnoses in draft ICD-11-PHC.


Notes and related posts:

ICD10-PHC (the Primary Care version of ICD-10, which is sometimes written as ICD-10 PHC or ICD-10-PHC or ICD-10 PC), is a simplified version of the WHO’s ICD-10 for use in general practice and primary health care settings. This condensed classification system has rough but not exact equivalence to the main ICD-10 classifications.

For example, the ICD10-PHC mental and behavioural disorders chapter lists and describes 25 disorders commonly managed within primary care as opposed to circa 450 classified within Chapter V of ICD-10.

Click here for a chart showing the grouping of categories adapted from the full ICD-10 version for the existing ICD10-PHC mental health categories

Professor, Sir David Goldberg, M.D., Emeritus Professor, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, is a member of the DSM-5 Mood Disorders Work Group. Prof Goldberg also chairs the Consultation Group for Classification in Primary Care that is making recommendations for the mental and behavioural disorders section of ICD11-PHC.

Other members of the ICD11-PHC Consultation Group include Michael Klinkman (GP, United States; Vice Chairman); Sally Chan (nurse, Singapore), Tony Dowell (GP, New Zealand) Sandra Fortes (psychiatrist, Brazil), Linda Gask (psychiatrist, UK), KS Jacob (psychiatrist, India), Tai-Pong Lam (GP, Hong Kong), Joseph Mbatia (psychiatrist, Tanzania), Fareed Minhas (psychiatrist, Pakistan), Marianne Rosendal (GP, Denmark), assisted by WHO Secretariat Geoffrey Reed and Shekhar Saxena.

The majority of patients with mental health problems are diagnosed and managed by general practitioners in primary care – not by psychiatrists and mental health specialists. ICD10-PHC is used in developed and developing countries in general medical settings and also used in the training of medical officers, nurses and multi purpose health workers.

See also Page 3 of this report:

Changes to ICD-11 Beta drafting platform: Bodily Distress Disorders (1)

Page 3, including Update at July 9: Second list of proposals for ICD11-PHC

Further information on ICD10-PHC and proposals for the mental health disorders section of ICD11-PHC can be found in these two documents:

1] Goldberg, D. Guest editorial. A revised mental health classification for use in general medical settings: the ICD11–PHC 1. International Psychiatry, Page 1, February 2011.

Note: The list of proposed categories in the editorial above has been superseded by the list in Chapter 2 of this book, below. (Source: Prof D Goldberg, who stresses these are draft proposals and subject to revision in the light of field trial results).

2] 21st Century Global Mental Health by Dr Eliot Sorel, Professor, George Washington University, Washington D.C.

Publication date: August, 2012:

Page 51, Sample Chapter 2:


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