The United States Preventive Services Task Force wants you to complete a questionnaire meant to asses whether or not there’s a serious risk of depression, every time you visit your doctor’s office.
On top of this, people who worry that they may be suffering from depression will also be able to download the questionnaire online if the recommendation gets implemented. They could save time by filling it out in the comfort of their own home and simply give it to their doctor and wait for an evaluation of their mental health.
The recommendation was released earlier this week, on Monday (July 27, 2015), and urges family doctors to screen their patients regularly for depression. The above mentioned questionnaire is designed to help identify warning signs of the condition in a quick and simple fashion.
In the event of a patient showing signs of being vulnerable to the mental disorder, the next step would be to refer them to a specialist in order to receive a full-fledged diagnosis and the proper care, be that meds, therapy, or a mix of the two.
Probably the best part about the questionnaire, or at least the one that’s bound to appeal most to the patients, is that it only takes a few minutes to fill out and does not require any assistance from a medical professional.
The two main questions proposed for detecting depression are “Over the past two weeks, have you felt down, depressed, or hopeless?” and “Over the past two weeks, have you felt little interest or pleasure in doing things?”.
Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, vice chair for the United States Preventive Services Task Force and professor of medicine, biostatistics and epidemiology from the University of California (San Francisco), gave a statement informing that “This could be a checklist that patients fill out in the waiting room, or at home prior to the visit. The good thing is we have many instruments, measures that have been studied for screening for depression”.
Dr. Bibbins-Domingo and her colleagues hope that the questionnaire will help detect and treat more people suffering from depression. She went on to add that 7 percent (7%) of American adults are currently battling the mental disorder, but out of all of them, only half have actually been diagnosed by field experts.
She stressed that the medical community is well aware of the fact that depression is a domino that leads to many other health issues, as well as social and financial issues – it makes people miss work, neglect friends and family members, and keeps them from living full lives.
Michael Yapko, clinical psychologist and renowned depression expert from California, gave a statement of his own saying that the recommendation makes a lot of sense. He shared that out of all the patients suffering from depression, only 25 percent (25%) feel comfortable seeking out help from a mental health expert.
However, more than 90 percent (90%) of them are willing to consult a physician and not hide any signs or symptoms that could help with their diagnosis.
It’s worth mentioning that the United States Preventive Services Task Force has been making the same recommendation since 2002.
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