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Care of depressed patients in the family doctor's practice

NewsMedicalCare of depressed patients in the family doctor's practice

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Friday October 27, 2017

Cologne - There are still deficits in the care of depressed patients in the family doctor's practice. Assuming the self-reported complaints in a patient questionnaire (Depression Screening Questionnaire), around 60 percent of patients with depression are not treated with antidepressants and / or psychotherapy in accordance with the guidelines.

In cases in which a depressive disorder is recognized, general practitioner patients are more likely to receive medication than psychotherapy. Sebastian Trautmann and Katja Beesdo-Baum from the Institute for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy at the Technical University of Dresden present these results of an epidemiological cross-sectional study in the current edition of Deutsches Ärzteblatt (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2017; 114: 721-28).

With a reference date survey in six regions of Germany, the questionnaire information from 253 doctors and from 3,563 randomly selected patients were evaluated with regard to the diagnosis and treatment of depression.

If GPs diagnose a depressive disorder, they treat the patient themselves in about 80 percent of the cases. A good third of the patients are prescribed antidepressants by the doctor, regardless of the severity of the depression. This shows, the authors write, that the preference suggested in the guidelines for psychotherapeutic over drug interventions in mild depression has not yet been widely implemented in routine care.

Against this background, the authors emphasize the need to provide general practitioners with more differentiated skills for diagnosis and indication in their training and further education. A Disease Management Program (DMP) for depression could help reduce the existing undersupply. The most accurate possible diagnosis of depressive disorders by the family doctor is essential so that he can, in a central role as gatekeeper, initiate the necessary treatments by referral. © tg / aerzteblatt.de

Care of depressed patients in the family doctor's practice

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