Treatment of depression by obstetrician-gynecologists: A survey study
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OBJECTIVE: We performed an exploratory survey of depression diagnosis, treatment, and patient referral patterns by Fellows of ACOG. We also examined obstetrician-gynecologists' professional training in the management of clinical depression. METHODS: We sent a questionnaire to a total of 1370 ACOG Fellows. Sixty percent of the surveys were returned. RESULTS: As a group, obstetrician-gynecologists reported diagnosing an average of four new cases of depression per month. Within the overall sample, the number of new diagnoses of depression made each month was significantly greater for those defining themselves as primary care physicians than for those defining themselves as specialists. When treating depression pharmacologically, obstetrician-gynecologists reported that they overwhelmingly (74% of the time) chose selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants. Ninety-five percent of obstetrician-gynecologists reported that they referred severely depressed patients to a mental health professional. A majority of respondents neither received residency training (80%) nor completed a continuing medical education course (60%) on the treatment of clinical depression in women. CONCLUSION: Obstetrician-gynecologists who describe themselves as primary care physicians make significantly more diagnoses of depression than those considering themselves specialists. Studies further to assess obstetrician-gynecologists' management of depression and better to define needs for professional education are warranted.
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