Date: 05 May 2006

Depression Diagnosis and Antidepressant Treatment among Depressed VA Primary Care Patients

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This study examined the extent to which 3559 VA primary care patients with depression symptomatology received depression diagnoses and/or antidepressant prescriptions. Symptomatology was classified as mild (13%), moderate (42%) or severe (45%) based on SCL-20 scores. Diagnosis and treatment was related to depression severity and other patient characteristics. Overall, 44% were neither diagnosed nor treated. Only 22% of those neither diagnosed nor treated for depression received treatment for other psychopathology. Depression treatment performance measures dependent on diagnoses and antidepressant prescriptions from administrative databases exclude undiagnosed patients with significant, treatable, symptomatology.