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Medical News & Perspectives
March 21, 2001

Communication Gaps Hinder Full Recovery From Depression

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JAMA. 2001;285(11):1431-1433. doi:10.1001/jama.285.11.1431-JMN0321-2-1

When Drew Pinsky, MD, started treating psychiatric conditions as an internist in the late 1980s, patients with unipolar depression often considered the diagnosis a personal insult. "They became irate and stormed out of my office," recalled Pinsky, medical director for the Department of Chemical Dependency at Las Encinas Hospital in Pasadena, Calif.

Today, Pinsky noted, patients are more willing to accept that they have depression. "There is a higher level of awareness and less stigma," he said. Thanks to education campaigns and new antidepressant medications with fewer adverse effects and a reduced risk of fatal overdose, primary care physicians are treating a substantial number of patients with depression.