Lawrence RE et al. – Psychiatrists treat mild depression more aggressively than primary care physicians. Both are inclined to use antidepressants for patients with mild depression.Methods
- The authors surveyed a national sample of US PCPs and psychiatrists using a vignette of a 52-year-old man with depressive symptoms not meeting Major Depressive Episode criteria.
- Physicians were asked how likely they were to recommend an antidepressant counseling, combined medication, and counseling or to make a psychiatric referral.
- Response rate was 896/1427 PCPs and 312/487 for psychiatrists.
- Compared with PCPs, psychiatrists were more likely to recommend an antidepressant (70% vs. 56%), counseling (86% vs. 54%), or the combination of medication and counseling (61% vs. 30%).
- More psychiatrists (44%) than PCPs (15%) were ‘very likely’ to promote psychiatric referral.
- PCPs who frequently attended religious services were less likely (than infrequent attenders) to refer the patient to a psychiatrist (12% vs. 18%); and more likely to recommend increased involvement in meaningful relationships/activities (50% vs. 41%) and religious community (33% vs. 17%).