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September 18, 1996

Treating Depression in Medical Conditions May Improve Quality of Life

Author Affiliations

JAMA contributor

JAMA. 1996;276(11):857-858. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540110011006

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DEPRESSION is common in medical illness: it is both a physiologic consequence of the illness and a psychological reaction to it. It also may be a side effect of some drug therapies. In all instances, aggressive treatment of the depression may promote better compliance with general medical care and lower its cost, improve the patient's quality of life, and possibly forestall suicide, according to speakers in several sessions at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in New York City.

Depressive disorders occur in an estimated 6% of the general population. For those with medical illnesses, the prevalence may soar past 50%, said speakers who focused on the practical implications for primary care clinicians.

Neurologic Illness  Within a week of experiencing a stroke, said Stuart Yudofsky, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tex, more than half the patients meet