Untreated Depression is a 10-16 year study of patients who entered the clinic with symptoms of Depression but were not treated. Researchers used diagnostic tools to categorize these individuals as depressed or not and followed their progress for up to 16 years. Of the 7,000+ patients studied, only 16% were diagnosed with Depression at some point during the study period. Interestingly enough, within that 16%, approximately 70% had remitted by the end of the study period, whereas 30% still suffered from persistent symptoms even after 15 years. The article will discuss what this means for prospective healthcare providers and follow-up research on treatment options.
The results of the study highlight the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. Untreated Depression often leads to persistent symptoms in the long run, even if initial episodes are treated. This highlights the necessity for adequate screening tools to catch depressive episodes early on. Health care professionals are often hesitant when it comes to diagnosing Depression due to its many potential causes and false-positive diagnosis rates. However, they must do so to prevent patients from harming themselves or others due to untreated symptoms. Thus, proving that early diagnosis and effective treatment are essential for the well-being of patients.
It is also important for multiple providers with different specialties to be involved with patients suffering from Depression for accurate diagnoses and to develop treatment plans. Therefore, primary care doctors need to recognize the signs and symptoms of Depression and refer patients to psychiatrists for further treatment.