Depression

GPs Need To Understand That There’s More To Depression

  GPs need more confidence in helping people to manage their depression a new survey reveals. Despite 96% of GPs usually or always making an attempt to determine the severity level of depression at diagnosis, only 11% are very confident at discussing what this means for treatment choices with their patients, and only 20% always try to. The severity of someone’s depression is an important factor to consider when making treatment choices, and people with depression are therefore missing out on information to help them choose which treatments would be best for them which 66% of respondents surveyed felt would be useful.1
 Apr 15 2011   –  GPs need more confidence in helping people to manage their depression a new survey reveals. Despite 96% of GPs usually or always making an attempt to determine the severity level of depression at diagnosis, only 11% are very confident at discussing what this means for treatment choices with their patients, and only 20% always try to. The severity of someone’s depression is an important factor to consider when making treatment choices, and people with depression are therefore missing out on information to help them choose which treatments would be best for them which 66% of respondents surveyed felt would be useful.1

The time it takes to make an accurate diagnosis is also a factor preventing access to the most appropriate treatment; almost half of GPs say that it takes over three months for them to be satisfied that they have identified the right severity level of someone’s depression.

“Depression is a complex condition which needs to be better understood”, said Dr Chris Manning MRCGP, Fellow of the International Society for Affective Disorders, Mental Health Lead for the College of Medicine and advisor to the campaign. “We need to ensure that people are able to make informed decisions about their treatment and this means we need to provide them with clear information on the different severity levels and types of depression, as well as all of the treatment choices at their disposal and the supports that is available to help them.”

“Choice is a key factor. We need to ensure that people have good quality, easily accessible information on depression so that they can make choices over the range of treatments available,” said Emer O’Neill, Chief Executive of Depression Alliance. “People with depression need access to information so they can work with their GP to help them access different choices which have been shown to help assist recovery and end the feelings of loneliness that come with depression, including talking therapies and lifestyle changes.”

There are also problems identifying bipolar disorder, a serious condition in which people feel both up and down, and distinguishing it from major depressive disorder in which people just feel depressed. Only 34% of GPs routinely screen for bipolar disorder despite GPs estimating that 40% of their bipolar patients had originally been diagnosed with something different.

The survey results have been released as part of There’s More To Depression, a public education campaign that hasreceived input from several independent healthcare advisors*. Coinciding with Depression Awareness Week it highlights the challenges that GPs face in regards to making a timely and accurate diagnosis, providing appropriate information to their patients and understanding the importance of different types of depression.

Notes

About There’s More To Depression

There’s More To Depression is a public education campaign that has received input and advice from Depression Alliance and several independent healthcare advisors. Coinciding with Depression Awareness Week it highlights the challenges that GPs face in regards to making a timely and accurate diagnosis, providing appropriate information to their patients and understanding the importance of different types of depression.

The There’s More To Depression survey was conducted amongst three different groups of people:

– 152 GPs from England, Wales and Scotland who completed a 15-minute online survey

– 411 people aged 18 and over from England, Wales and Scotland who had been to see their GP due to feeling low or depressed in the past 3 years who completed a 15-minute online survey

– 2008 members of the general public from England, Wales and Scotland aged 16 and over who were asked whether they had previously been to see their GP due to feeling low or depressed.

*About There’s More To Depression advisors

AstraZeneca has received advice from several independent advisors regarding There’s More To Depression. Advisors include Professor Stephen Bazire, Chief Pharmacist for Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust; Dr Chris Manning, GP and Fellow of the International Society for Affective Disorders; Professor Allan Young, Imperial College London and Depression Alliance.

References
1. AstraZeneca Data on file SER/040/MAR11

Source:
AstraZeneca

Leave a Reply