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Depression Screening Recommended For All U.S. Adults


All adults in the United States should be screened for depression, according to a recently issued draft recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

The USPSTF’s co-vice chair, Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, was quoted by Reuters Health in a report published on The Huffington Post as having said that the USPSTF believes that “all clinical practices should be able to put those systems in place” and that the recommendation includes both postpartum as well as pregnant women.

We believe all clinical practices should be able to put those systems in place (…) This is a recommendation to screen all adults in the primary care setting, including pregnant and postpartum women

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression’s cause is most likely the result of a combination of genetic, psychological, biologial and environmental factors.

Medical News Today reports that around 1 in 10 Americans experiences depression — a mood disorder which causes a persistent feeling of sadness and lack of interest — at some point in their lives, or so it’s been estimated. And according to Dr. Bibbins-Domingo, who’s also affiliated with UCSF, it’s a disorder which “is not only common, it is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States.”

Depression is not only common, it is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. The Task Force’s recommendation for all adults to be screened by their primary care physician will help to identify depression and connect patients with the treatment and support they need.

The recommendation proposed by the government-backed panel of medical experts broadens the USPSTF’s 2009 recommendation that adults get screened at doctors’ offices when staff-assisted depression care is available, according Reuters Health.

A nine-question Patient Health Questionnaire exists which allows doctors to screen patients in their offices.

In patients with moderate to severe depression, antidepressant treatment could reduce the risk of heart disease, according to the preliminary findings of an unrelated study conducted by doctors at Salt Lake City’s Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute.

Dr. Renee Binder, president of the American Psychiatric Association, was quoted by Reuters Health as having said that the majority of folks out there “are not depressed,” but some are. Binder was not involved with the proposed recommendation.

It’s very important to identify that something is going on and get effective treatment

As the new USPSTF proposal is a grade B recommendation, Obamacare covers it without patient incurred cost. Not only that, grade B recommendations entail moderate certainty that the benefit will prove to be moderate to substantial.

An unrelated study conducted by researchers at the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology has found a link between depression and heart failure.

The USPSTF is accepting public commentary on the new recommendation up until August 24, 2015. All comments will be reviewed by the panel before the issuance of their final recommendation.

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