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Depression risk 'can be identified with two simple questions'

  • 10 Comments

Asking patients with long-term conditions two simple questions can identify risk of depression as accurately as more complex surveys, according to York University researchers who reviewed 113 studies.

They concluded that asking: “During the past month, have you often been bothered by feeling down, depressed, or hopeless?” and “during the past month, have you often been bothered by little interest or pleasure in doing things?” were as accurate as “more elaborate questionnaires”.

  • 10 Comments

Readers' comments (10)

  • michael stone

    Strikes a chord with me - when I became depressed, I would sum up the situation 'as ceasing to enjoy anything, either at the time or in anticipation' which seems to be the second of those questions.

    As it happens, I'm not necessarily sure that the first question describes 'medical' depression, as it might just be a logical 'take' on the world !

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  • I agree that all patients should be given holistic care and there mental health status assessed for clinicians giving the best treatment possible.
    However in my area we haven't the resources needed to cope with the 30%or more of patients requiring counselling and support
    I agree with Micheal I could answer yes to both of these questions over the last month due to life in general

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  • most people could test positive to these two questions. Simplistic and rather flippant, don't you think?

    Depression, it has been generally agreed by many of the world's experts in the field, is a serious and complex affliction which is little understood as it can present in so many different guises and the symptoms of those who suffer from it must not be undermined or overlooked.

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  • michael stone

    michael stone | 3-Dec-2011 10:19 am

    The 'no enjoyment' one isn't flippant - as a life-long football supporter, having no noticeable enthusiasm for the World Cup could not, in my opinion, be put down to normal 'world-weariness'. By 'no pleasure' I mean NO pleasure !

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  • michael stone | 9-Dec-2011 2:22 pm

    do pay attention to what is being said. in my comment above yours i suggest the questions are flippant the symptoms of depression!

    answers to such questions may be interpreted flippantly as well. Depression has been shown to have a highly complex psychopathology whose causes remain unclear. it is most definitely not about whether or not one enjoys football matches and although this may be a sign I find your comment equally as flippant!

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  • michael stone | 9-Dec-2011 2:22 pm

    one person who may have suffered what they interpret as depression as a result of a simple question does not qualify them as a clinical specialist in this area so once again sir, I am not sure why you are participating in what could be a valuable professional debate.

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  • For what its worth - and at the risk of further inflaming the flippancy debate - I believe that such a test would be useful in the measurement of dysthmia which is defined as a state in which the usual enjoyment of an activity is now absent. As a long suffering football fan I can empathise with Michael's analogy, however my current disinterest with the national team is due to being disenfranchised through a mixture of my values not corresponding with those of the protagonists I previously enjoyed and a sense of detachment through supporting a team that does not boast any of these so-called superstars.

    These two questions may suggest that a potential depressive episode may be presenting for diagnosis, but similarly they may fail to identify it for any number of other reasons. For example a low grade concurrent psychotic state which prompts the sufferer to lie and conceal their symptomology.

    The more comprehensive tools for measuring depressive features will always give better results because of their design and because the checks and balances installed through the way questions are posed minimises the risk of manipulation of answers by some.

    So for me the point of the study is before using a comprehensive assessment tool, try this short and simple one first and then decide whether or not the more comprehensive assessment is required or advantageous at that stage.

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  • "For example a low grade concurrent psychotic state which prompts the sufferer to lie and conceal their symptomology."

    under what obligations are sufferers to reveal they symptomatology if this is against their wishes? Why is not revealing them lying?

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 12-Dec-2011 9:37 am

    There isn't a debate about flippancy going on - it is the usual case of some people having a go at me, simply because I dared to post a comment.

    And I was not saying that being depressed by the performance of the England team, could indicate that I was clinically depressed: I said that deriving no enjoyment from the World Cup (or from anything else, for that matter) probably indicated clinical depression.

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  • michael stone | 13-Dec-2011 2:43 pm

    once again you undermine the NT site with nursing commentators as well as the symptoms of serious clinical depression by medical definitions of the disorder.

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