American College of Physicians Internal Medicine Meeting
American College of Physicians Internal Medicine Meeting
April 18, 2019
7 min watch

VIDEO: Identifying depression, anxiety in primary care

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PHILADELPHIA — Depression and anxiety are common disorders seen in primary care practices, with up to 20% of patients presenting with symptoms, according to a speaker here at the ACP Internal Medicine Meeting 2019.

Depression and anxiety are commonly displayed as nonspecific physical complaints, such as not sleeping well, low energy and pain, Heidi Combs, MD, MS, associate professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington, told Healio Primary Care Today.

PCPs should screen for depression and anxiety in patients presenting with these symptoms with informal questions or formal screening tools, she said.

“Once you detect that a patient has anxiety or depression, the first thing to do is to be aggressive in treatment,” she said.

“There are really good options for treatment, both medications and psychotherapy, but they only work if you actually identify [the conditions] and help the patients understand what they are experiencing,” she said.

Most treatment for anxiety and depression is handled by PCPs, not psychiatrists, Combs noted. – by Alaina Tedesco


Disclosure: Combs reports no relevant financial disclosures.