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Depression Screening

HAP encourages you to screen all of your patients for depression. Studies have shown that depression is not often detected in the primary care setting. Approximately 80 percent of patients suffering from depression only present physical symptoms to their primary care physician. The prevalence of depression varies by gender; nearly twice as many women (12 percent) as men (seven percent) are affected by a depressive illness. Additionally, African Americans experience higher rates of depression than Caucasians. Detection, however, is only the first step in successfully treating members with depression.

There are a variety of tools available to screen for depression in your practice. The Prime-MD Depression Screening Survey is quick to use, highly effective, and can be completed by your patients. The PHQ-9 is just as quick and effective, however, it has additional questions that aid in determining the severity of a personís depression.

You may consult the following references for the latest medical findings for the treatment and detection of depression among special populations:

  • Marcille, John, et. Al. "Treating Depression: A Focus on Medication Choices From a Clinical and Managed Care Perpective." Special Supplement to Managed Care 11 (2002): 3-9.
    The magazine discusses treatment of depression in the primary care setting, comorbid conditions, and adequate antidepressant therapy.
  • Hedegaard, M, et al. "Postpartum depression: Identification of Women at Risk." BJOG 107 (2000): 1210-1217.
    Identifies and discusses the predictive power of demographic, obstetric and psychosocial risk factors for postpartum depression. The results indicate that one out of three women who suffer from psychological distress in late pregnancy will develop postpartum depression.
  • Baker, FM. "Diagnosing Depression in African Americans." Community Mental Health Journal 37 (2001): 31-38.
    Paper reviews the literature and discusses three alternative presentations of depressive illness among African Americans.
  • Brown, C, et al. "Effectiveness of treatments for major depression in primary medical practice: a post hoc analysis of outcomes for African American and white patients." J Affect Disord 53(1999): 185-192.
    Article discusses the differential influence race may play in depression treatment adherence and clinical outcomes. Findings indicate that African American and white primary care patients are effectively treated with standardized psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy.

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