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Year : 2001  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 123-126

Detection of depression in general practice

Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
M Onyeama
Dept of Psychological Medicine, UNTH, Enugu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Aim: To determine the rate of detection of depression in general outpatient clinic attenders by General Medical Practitioners (GPs). Methods: The study was carried out in the General Out Patient Clinic of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu. The Zung self-rating Depression Scale (SDS) was used to screen the Patients for depressive symptoms. The diagnosis of depressive disorder was established via a clinical psychiatric interview given to a systematic sample of 80 patients scoring in the morbidity range of the SDS. Results: Out of a consecutive sample of 300 patients aged 18 years and above, 165 (55%) scored within the morbidity range of the SDS. Sixty percent (48) of the 80 patients subjected to clinical psychiatric interview met the ICD-10 criteria for depressive disorder Twenty five percent had other psychiatric diagnosis while fifteen percent had no psychiatric disorders. The GPs were able to recognize only twelve percent of those who scored within the morbidity range of the SDS as depressed. Sociodemographic characteristics neither differentiated low scorers from high scorers nor did they differentiate recognized depressed patients from unrecognized ones. Conclusions: There is the need to sensitise Gps to recognize and treat patients suffering from depressive disorder.

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