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Navigating Patients Through Depression

Navigating Patients Through Depression

Although depression is a highly treatable illness, it can become more difficult to treat the longer it goes undiagnosed or undertreated. A new survey of 2,001 adults living with depression found that many of these individuals engage in unhealthy behaviors that may jeopardize recovery. The survey was part of a new depression educational program called Missing Pieces, which was developed by leading mental health experts and supported by Eli Lilly and Company to help people identify the information patients need to better understand depression. Analyzing Key Findings According to the survey, it took an average of about 6 years for respondents to seek diagnosis from a healthcare professional. “An alarming finding was that 57% of patients surveyed waited more than 6 months to get depression treatment,” says Thomas N. Wise, MD, who was on the multidisciplinary expert panel that helped shape the development of the survey as well as educational materials for the Missing Pieces program (Figure 1). “Social stigma, embarrassment, and negative reactions often play a role in delays for seeking treatment. The survey highlights the need for more public information on depression and its symptoms. Patients need to become more aware of the symptoms so that they seek treatment earlier.” Among survey respondents who waited 6 months or longer to be diagnosed, 69% reported delaying their diagnosis because they lacked knowledge about depression or basic facts about available treatments and where to get help. Although 91% of the survey population had been prescribed an antidepressant, only 7% of these individuals felt very knowledgeable about the basic aspects of their treatment. “Patients are missing pieces of vital information...
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