Depression Screening


Depression Screening: Its Importance in Primary Care

It has long been predicted that when year 2020 hits, clinical depression will become second to cardiovascular conditions as the world’s top debilitating diseases. This is because depressive disorder, particularly the major types, can easily be associated with high degrees of multiple morbidities, suicide, personal disabilities and the loss of good quality life among patients with the disorder. Fortunately there now exists one good way to determine the existence of depressive disorders. This is by depression screening. Depression screening is a tool used by experts in the field to determine if a person is experiencing depression. An early screening of depression is a great first step in treating this psychological condition successfully.

Who needs depression screening?

Depressive disorder is more often found in patients having chronic diseases than with those who are more physically healthy. Experts on the nature of depressive disorders often suggest that the screening be taken by those with coronary heart disorder or CHD and those with diabetes. Such patients have been determined over time by health experts to carry the risk of developing depressive disorder along with their chronic diseases. Other highly possible candidates are those who have had a history of depression, those who have severely debilitating diseases, and those who suffer from mental disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer's. Aside from a depression screening, patients are also required to participate in the assessment of the severity of their depressive disorder.

Depression screening in primary care

Depression screening in primary care targets not only a certain individual, but health care delivery for the whole community. Thus, in order to diagnose possible depression cases among the community, the U.S. Government has conducted a survey using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey.

Depression in American Adults

According to the MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report) about Adult Depression, about 1 out of 10 U.S. adults are said to have depression. However, the type of depression that most adults experience can be further sub-divided into major depression and other types of a less serious nature.

Another set of data from the survery reveals that major depression most likely occurs among individuals between 45-64 years old, women, individuals of a lesser educational attainment (lower than high school), previously married adults, unemployed persons and individuals without health insurance coverage.

Importance of Depression Screening

Primary depression screening is entirely focused on preventing depression from happening or stopping it from becoming worse. The role of depression screening in primary care can be very important for anyone who may have a tendency towards depression. Studies conducted on the population can help mental health experts determine how prevalent depression is in a community so that appropriate preventative measures or early treatment options can be initiated.

Mental experts are also promoting the use of collaborative care in treating or managing early signs and symptoms of major depression in both adults and adolescents. Collaborative care refers to the united care given by health care professionals of different fields such as physicians, nurses, dieticians, occupational therapists and other units of the health care team. Indeed, depression screening can save not only an individual, but a large percentage of the population from the debilitating effects of depression.