Somatic symptoms are known to be the major manifestation in patients with depression. The aim of the present study was to investigate the major somatic and psychiatric symptoms associated with depression in each sex. Patients with a DSM-IV diagnosis of depressive disorders (n=335) and comparison patients without depression (n=425) among new outpatients in an urban hospital medical setting were eligible for study. The relationship between the three most distressing subjective symptoms at the first visit, confirmed by the patient's description on a health questionnaire and the admitting physician's interview, and depression was investigated in each sex. Most (77.4%) of the complaints in patients with depression were somatic. In a simple logistic regression analysis, diarrhea, excessive sweating and psychomotor retardation in men, and headache, depressed mood and grief in women were associated with depression. In multiple logistic regression analysis, diarrhea, excessive sweating and weight loss in men, and headache, dysesthesia and grief in women, as well as sleep disturbance, loss of appetite, general fatigue, loss of interest and agitation in both sexes, were statistically significantly associated with depression. Fever in men was also associated with depression by Fisher's exact test.
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