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Survey May Help Docs Diagnose Mood Disorders

It identified anxiety, depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder in most cases, study finds

TUESDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- A single-page questionnaire can help primary-care doctors screen patients for common psychiatric illnesses, U.S. researchers report.

Called My Mood Monitor (M-3), the checklist includes 27 questions designed to screen for depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This study included 647 adults, aged 18 and older, who completed the questionnaire while waiting to see their doctor. The checklists were given to the patients' doctors, who used the information to discuss emotional health with their patients.

The researchers found that the checklist was effective in screening for any mood or anxiety disorder 83 percent of the time and for a specific disorder 76 percent of the time. The findings are published in the March/April issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

"About one in 10 Americans who suffer from depression and anxiety-related mental health disorders never receives treatment because they don't understand what's wrong, and when they go to their family doctor these treatable illnesses are too often missed," study author Dr. Bradley Gaynes, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, said in a university news release. "For these millions of people and their primary-care providers, the M-3 screener is a tremendously helpful resource."

The M-3 checklist was developed by M-3 Information of Bethesda, Md.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about mental health disorders.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, news release, March 8, 2010

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