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Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2003 Jun;5(2):115-28.

Mental disorders in primary care.

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Institute for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Dresden University of Technology, Dresden, Germany; Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Clinical Psychology and Epidemiology, Munich, Germany.


Current estimates indicate that 50% of the population experience at least one mental disorder in their lifetime and that at least 25% have suffered a mental disorder in the past year. recognition, diagnosis, treatment, and referral depend overwhelmingly on general practitioners, at least one third of whose consultations have a direct and explicit psychological component. Yet despite this intensive familiarization with the presentation of mental pathology, and the appropriateness of the primary care setting to its management, even the most recent surveys indicate that performance is best described by the rule of diminishing halves: only half the patients with a thresh-old disorder are recognized; only half of those recognized are treated; and only half of those treated are effectively treated. There is no single solution to this problem, only multiple solutions, which must be aimed, consistently and simultaneously, at the patient, practitioner, practice, and research levels.


management; mental disorder; primary care; recognition


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