Treating Patients with Depression
Depression is a condition that is applied to a wide variety of emotional states ranging from feeling "down" for a couple of days to severe clinical depression that may last for several months. Chronic and multiple conditions are consistently associated with an increased occurrence of depressive symptoms and disorders. Whether patients are depressed over the symptoms of their other chronic conditions or depression is a direct relationship with the other conditions, depression significantly increases the overall burden of illness in patients who suffer from chronic medical conditions.
Physicians need to be alert to the possibility of depression in their patients and alert to the prevalence of depression in patients with multiple conditions. However, multiple chronic conditions often reduce the likelihood that physicians or other health care providers recognize depression because of the focus that is given to treating other, more obvious and previously diagnosed conditions. Certain symptoms such as fatigue, poor appetite, and poor concentration, are often associated with other conditions. It is detrimental to the patient's well-being that depression remains at the forefront when multiple conditions are being treated. Depression has been clearly documented with a poorer prognosis and more rapid progression of chronic illnesses, making it essential that patients who exhibit signs and symptoms of depression receive necessary intervention and treatment.