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Depression in adults: GPs are not so bad at diagnosis

Kendrick, T. (2008) Depression in adults: GPs are not so bad at diagnosis BMJ, 336, (7643), p. 522. (doi:10.1136/bmj.39507.524711.80).

Record type: Article


Timonen and Liukkonen state that, according to cross sectional studies, 50-70% of patients with depression in primary care remain undetected.1 This attack on GPs’ ability to recognise depression is out of date and should not go unchallenged.

Studies have shown that many missed cases have relatively mild symptoms, that lie just above the threshold on screening measures for depression. These cases have dubious clinical relevance and may be false positives because all diagnostic measures have rating errors.2 In addition, cross sectional recognition rates are obtained from a single 10 minute consultation and usually exclude patients whom GPs have already recognised as depressed.

The article fails to acknowledge studies showing that many "missed" patients are diagnosed correctly at later visits. Kessler et al found that, although many patients with depression did not receive a diagnosis at a single consultation, most were given one at later consultations or recovered without a GP’s.

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Published date: 2008
Keywords: humans, gps, letter, standards, depression, family practice, diagnosis, adults, clinical competence, depressive disorder, adult


Local EPrints ID: 61883
ISSN: 0959-8138
PURE UUID: 3d078eaf-ffe3-486e-941c-b07f5280f651
ORCID for T. Kendrick: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 03 Sep 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:21

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