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Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2012 Mar;35(1):231-47. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2011.11.001. Epub 2011 Dec 15.

Depression in medically ill patients.

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Department of Psychiatry, The George Washington University School of Medicine, 2300 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA.


In medically ill patients, given the many entities the phenotype of depression may represent, clinicians must be prepared to cast their diagnostic nets widely, not settling for the obvious but frequently incorrect choice of major depressive episode and throwing antidepressants at it willy nilly. Having chosen the correct diagnosis from among a broad differential of depression “look-alikes,” clinicians can draw upon a broad swath of treatment modalities including medications, psychotherapy, social supports, and spiritual interventions. Working as a psychiatrist in the medical arena requires the curiosity and analytic skills of a detective and the breadth of knowledge of a polymath adapting therapeutic tools from across the biopsychosociospiritual spectrum to the specific needs of the patient.

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