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Family Doctor Keeping an Eye out For Depression

Stephen M. Raffle, M.D.

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By Stephen M. Raffle, M.D.

American Medical Association publication Amednews, “Doctors Called on to Screen All Adults for Depression,” By Kevin B. O’Reilly, October 26, 2009

“All adults should be screened for depression, and primary care physicians should do the screening, according to a position statement issued in October by the American College of Preventive Medicine…More than a third of primary care patients experience some form of depression, and 10% of patients have major depression. But, the college’s position statement said, most depressed patients seeing primary care doctors go undiagnosed… “With 6.7% of American adults — about 15 million people — experiencing depression in any given year, the prevalence of the disabling and potentially deadly condition makes it imperative that primary care doctors regularly screen their patients, the college’s statement said…

“Many people with depression will mainly be seeing their primary care physicians, so we need to figure out how to make this an important vital sign that all clinicians are aware of and help them think about ways to screen and then diagnose and treat,” said Michelle Riba, MD, associate director of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center and a past president of the American Psychiatric Assn.

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