Mood changes at very high altitudes in Pakistan

Sabih Ahmad, Sadiq Hussain


Objective: To screen out psychiatric ‘cases’ and find the frequency of anxiety and depression symptoms in military volunteers performing duties at very high altitudes in the Karakoram ranges of Pakistan.

Methods: This was a descriptive study lasting from Jan 2015 to June 2015, on volunteers serving at very high altitude, using General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Urdu versions. Analysis involved descriptive, inferential techniques and Bonferroni test. Demographic variables were compared to the scores.

Results: A high percentage of the military volunteers screened positive for psychiatric ‘caseness’ and symptoms of anxiety and depression; mostly in the mild to moderate range, while very few of them reported severe symptoms. Demographic variables such as marital status, number of children, positive family psychiatric history, past medical history, duration at high altitude and educational levels were found to be significant risk factors for developing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Conclusions: Individuals performing duties at very high altitude, experience symptoms of anxiety and depression, their demographics are important in understanding their emotional problems. 


How to cite this:Ahmad S, Hussain S. Mood changes at very high altitudes in Pakistan. Pak J Med Sci. 2017;33(1):231-235.   doi:

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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