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Study: Many physicians not using established criteria
Date:2/2/2010

  • Patients might not be accurately diagnosed
  • Patients who do not have major depressive disorder may be prescribed medications that will not work
  • Calls for a briefer definition of the DSM-IV criteria for MDD

PROVIDENCE, RI A new study led by Mark Zimmerman, MD, of Rhode Island Hospital indicates that a majority of non-psychiatrist physicians and a substantial minority of psychiatrists reported that they often do not use the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) when diagnosing major depressive disorder (MDD) in patients. The study appears online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The criteria for MDD in DSM-IV have remained relatively unchanged for nearly 30 years. In a previous study, Zimmerman and colleagues questioned the clinical utility of the criteria. This study looks at the habits of physicians in using the criteria. The researchers asked physicians attending a continuing medical education conference to complete a brief questionnaire. A total of 291 physicians responded to the six questions, with one question asking about the use of the diagnostic criteria for depression.

The question read: "When diagnosing depression, how often do you determine whether the patients meet the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder?" A multiple choice response offered the following answers: a) less than 25% of the time; b) 26-50% of the time; c) 51-75% of the time and d) more than 75% of the time.

Nearly 25 percent of the psychiatrists indicated that they used the DSM-IV MDD criteria to diagnose depression less than half of the time. In contrast, more than two-thirds of the non-psychiatrist physicians indicated that they used the DSM-IV MDD criteria less than half of the time when diagnosing MDD. The difference between the psychiatrists' and the non-psychiatrists use of the criteria was significant. <
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Contact: Nancy Cawley Jean
njean@lifespan.org
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert  

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