Is co-morbid depression adequately treated in patients repeatedly referred to specialist medical services with symptoms of a medical condition?
ABSTRACT Patients with a medical condition and co-morbid depression have more symptoms and use more medical services. We aimed to determine the prevalence of depression and the adequacy of its treatment in patients who had been repeatedly referred from primary to specialist medical care for the assessment of a medical condition.
All patients who had at least three referrals to medical and surgical specialists for an assessment of symptoms attributed to a medical condition, over a five year period from five primary care practices in Edinburgh, UK were identified using a referral database and review of records. Participants were sent a questionnaire which included the PHQ-9 depression scale and additional questions about depression during the preceding 5years. Details of treatment for depression were obtained from primary care records.
Questionnaires were sent to 230 patients and returned by 162 (70.4%). Forty-one (25.3%) had a PHQ-9 score of 10 or more and hence probable current depressive disorder. An additional 36 (22.2%) reported depression in the previous 5years. Only eight (19.5%) of those reporting current depression and 20 (26%) of the 77 patients reporting previous depression had received minimally adequate treatment for it.
Whilst we know that patients with medical conditions are often depressed and that such co-morbid depression is often undertreated, we have found that it is undertreated even in patients repeatedly referred to medical specialists. Better assessment and management of depression in such patients could both improve patients' quality of life and reduce the cost of care.
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ABSTRACT: free access link till 31st of january 2014: http://elsarticle.com/18AEp93 This study aimed to describe the quantity, scope, and fundamental characteristics of recently published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of psychological interventions. We queried two major databases (PsycINFO and PubMeD) for primary reports published in 2010 of RCTs of psychological interventions for participants with a medical condition. We collected data on the characteristics of the trials, participants, interventions, outcomes, and reports. Of 3696 retrieved reports 295 primary publications were included. About half (53%) of trials included participants with a mental disorder and more than half evaluated interventions based on a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) framework. A majority of trials recruited participants in North America and Europe (79%). A minority of the trials focused on children and adolescents (17%) or the elderly (8%). The median sample size of the intervention arm was n=41. Thirty-nine percent of trials reported solely patient-reported outcomes. Only 5% of reports indicated funding from for-profit organizations. The median 2010 impact factor of the journals in which reports were published was 2.96. This snapshot of the research on psychological interventions suggests that the evidence base for psychological interventions is expanding mainly for CBT interventions for adults in high-income countries. Although the restrictive inclusion criteria limit the generalizability of these results, researchers and funding agencies might be advised to strive for greater diversity regarding interventions, geographical/cultural settings and age groups. Regularly updated reviews of this research field, with gradually refined methodology and increased scope, may further inform funders and researchers.Journal of psychosomatic research 11/2013; 75(5):401-8. DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2013.08.019