Frederic W. Platt, MD
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Platt FW. Should We Screen for Depression in Primary Care?. Ann Intern Med. 2002;136:412. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-136-5-200203050-00022
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2002;136(5):412.
TO THE EDITOR:
Reading the article by Valenstein and colleagues on the cost–utility of screening for depression in primary care (1), I was led to wonder about the cost–utility of the procedure I usually follow in similar circumstances.
Using the old adage that “the depressed patient sounds depressed, says he is depressed, and depresses the interviewer,” I tend to listen to my patients, meanwhile asking myself, “How might this patient be feeling to say what he or she is saying and look as he or she does?”, and “How am I feeling as this conversation progresses?” When there is a lull in the conversation, especially if my answers to the first two questions are that my patient sounds depressed and that I am feeling low, I tend to ask the magic question: “How's your mood?” or even, “Do you think you are depressed?” In fact, I seem to remember some expert suggesting that “Do you think you are depressed?” is the best single question to help us diagnose depression in our patients.
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