Amy Scholten, MPH
The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are given to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions.
The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends that primary care doctors screen their adult patients for depression if they have a system in place to support case management and/or mental health treatment. Elderly should be screened if depression is suspected based on risk factors or presentation. There are a number of different questionnaires to screen for depression. One example of screening is using 2 simple questions:
The US Preventive Services Task Force also found some indication that office screening tools may be accurate in identifying depressed adolescents aged 12-18 years. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians ask questions about depression in routine history-taking throughout adolescence.
Depression in elderly patients. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T906139/Depression-in-elderly-patients. Updated May 31, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2016.
Major depressive disorder (MDD). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116638/Major-depressive-disorder-MDD. Updated September 20, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2016.
Screening for depression in adults. US Preventative Services Task Force website. Available at:
http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/UpdateSummaryFinal/depression-in-adults-screening. Accessed August 24, 2016.
Screening for depression in children and adolescents. US Preventative Services Task Force website. Available at:
Accessed August 24, 2016.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
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