Group Recommends Screening For Depression For All Adults
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is recommending screening for depression in the general adult population, including pregnant and postpartum women, and that screening should be implemented with adequate systems in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate follow-up.
The report appeared in JAMA. Depression is among the leading causes of disability in persons 15 years and older. It affects individuals, families, businesses, and society and is common in patients seeking care in the primary care setting, and also common in postpartum and pregnant women.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) reviewed the evidence in the medical literature on the benefits and harms of screening for depression in adult populations. The USPSTF is an independent, volunteer panel of experts that makes recommendations about the effectiveness of specific preventive care services such as screenings, counseling services, and preventive medications. The USPSTF found convincing evidence that screening improves the accurate identification of adult patients with depression in primary care settings, including pregnant and postpartum women, and found adequate evidence that programs combining depression screening with adequate support systems in place improve clinical outcomes.
Effective treatment of depression in adults generally includes antidepressants or specific psychotherapy approaches, alone or in combination. Given the potential harms to the fetus and newborn child from certain pharmacologic agents, clinicians are encouraged to consider evidence-based counseling interventions when managing depression in pregnant or breastfeeding women. Hmmm. Behavioral health is a big issue in the country and one whole argument in the gun control debate centers on behavioral health. This is a slippery slope however. Do we need to scare an entire population? And given the anti-depressants are already the #1 prescribed medication in the country, are we just encouraging more unnecessary drug use that big pharma benefits?