Depression and chronic illness
> 1/16/2006 10:19:31 AM

A study in New Mexico found certain adverse health risk behaviorsand health conditions are more common among persons with depressionthan among persons without depression, underscoring the importance ofconsidering mental health in the prevention and treatment of chronicillnesses.

The findings in this report corroborate the correlation betweendepression and chronic diseases and conditions determined by previousstudies and thus suggest that the assessment and treatment ofdepression can help to improve the overall health of a population.

Although depressive disorders can be treated successfully, dataranging from the Epidemiologic Catchment Area program in the early1980s to those collected by the 2002 National Health Interview Surveyindicated that most persons needing treatment for mental illness didnot receive treatment. Barriers to treatment include the stigmaassociated with depression, lack of knowledge about depression, andlack of adequate insurance coverage. Persons with depression,particularly those who also have a physical health condition, mightseek treatment from various types of health-care professionals (e.g.,general practitioners) other than psychiatrists, psychologists, orpsychiatric social workers.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendsscreening adults for depression in clinical practices if systems existto ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and follow-up.

Excerpts from The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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