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Practitioner. 2011 Oct;255(1744):29-32, 3.

Be vigilant for common mental health disorders.

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Hull York Medical School.


Common mental health disorders (CMHD) affect one in six people in the community. These disorders are even more common in primary care. A New Zealand study found that 20.7% of people presenting to primary care had suffered a CMHD over a 12-month period, compared with 14.8% in the community. Most sufferers do not consult their GP, even when patients do present with symptoms they are often not diagnosed. Only 24% of sufferers in the ONS survey were receiving treatment: 14% medication; 5% counselling or therapy and 5% both. The new NICE guideline on identifying CMHD brings together recommendations on identification, assessment and referral in one place, for easy reference. The NICE depression guidelines recommend that GPs are alert for depression in those with a past history of depression, and in patients with a chronic physical health problem. The GAD and panic guideline also recommends that practitioners look for anxiety disorders in those with chronic physical disorders, plus frequent attenders with multiple functional somatic symptoms, and patients with excessive alcohol consumption.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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