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Tonya L. Fancher, MD; and Richard L. Kravitz, MD
Ann Intern Med. 2010;152(9):ITC5-1. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-152-9-201005040-01005
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Depression affects 5% to 10% of primary care patients (1) on average; however, this varies widely among clinical populations (2, 3). Only about half of depressed patients receive treatment (4). Untreated depression may prevent effective treatment of common co-occurring illnesses, such as diabetes (5). Depression causes disability similar to that of other chronic medical conditions (6, 7). Effective treatment reduces symptoms and improves quality of life (8). Asking about depression is sometimes viewed as "opening Pandora's box," but primary care clinicians can efficiently identify and manage most cases.

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