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Primary doctors should screen for depression, panel says

Staff writer |
A panel of medical experts suggest that adults should be screened for depression by their primary care physician. The proposal will be open for public comment until August 24.

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The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommend that adults be screened in doctors' offices if staff-assisted depression care is available. Doctors can screen for depression in their offices using the nine-question Patient Health Questionnaire.

About seven percent of people in the U.S. met criteria for a depressive disorder between 2009 and 2012, according to a review of evidence the panel conducted before making its proposal.

The benefits of effective screening and treatment for depression in the U.S. population are likely significant, especially among women may be especially important, according to Myrna Weissman of Columbia Psychiatry and the New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City.

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