Depression is found to be one of the leading causes of disability for people in the United States that are 15 and older. Depression is also commonly seen in primary care settings, and is very common in older adults and in women that are pregnant or that just gave birth. In pregnant and post-partum women in particular, it is a large concern because it not only affects the mother, but the child as well. The USPSTF has found that screening adults for depression has greatly improved the identification of adults suffering from depression that came into the primary care setting. Some common screening techniques to use are the Patient Health Questionnaire, the Geriatric Depression Scale in older adults, and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale in pregnant or postpartum women. After screening, appropriate and common treatments of depression include antidepressants or psychotherapy, either alone or combined. The study also found that treating adults with depression that was identified through screening has lead to decreased morbidity in these patients, and the USPSTF recommends screening for the general adult population, which is all patients over the age of 18, with particular emphasis on pregnant and postpartum women.
I chose this article because depression is becoming more and more prevalent in our country. We see this firsthand in the pharmacy with all of the depression and anxiety medications that we dispense, and have even seen proof in our Professions of Pharmacy class with the depression medications that have made it to the Top Drugs list. However, with all of the depression and associated medications that we do see, it is scary to me to hear that there are still so many cases of depression that go un-diagnosed. I believe that having greater screenings for patients that are known to be more prone to depression is important because it will prevent their illness from spiraling out of control while no one knows it is happening. I do not believe that medications should be used in every instance of depression or anxiety, and think that therapy is also a valid option to try, but whatever a patient needs is what they should receive because the primary goal of all health care professionals is to help patient get better, and the first step to that is knowing that there is a problem present.