“Frequent Flyers” in Emergency Department More Likely to Have Depression

From Psychiatry Advisor:

Kris Brickman, MD, and his colleagues from the University of Toledo Medical Center administered the Beck Depression Inventory-II to 425 patients who presented to The University of Toledo Medical Center Emergency Department over a six-month period. While the majority (58%) of the patients had no or minimal depression, 15% had mild depression, 20% had moderate depression, and 8% had severe depression — these data are in line with previously reported findings. Self-reported depression risk increased along with age, which was an average 32 years across a sample ranging from 23 to 44 years old.

The researchers then compared these screening results with the patients’ demographics, medical history, and the specific history of their current illness complaint. About 1 in 5 patients (22%) who were screened had symptoms lasting at least two weeks, and approximately half of these 92 patients presented with mild to severe depression according to the BDI-II. However, of those 47 individuals showing mild to severe depression, only 9 had been previously diagnosed with depression.

Those patients with symptoms lasting at least two weeks also visited the emergency room three times as often as patients with acute complaints. In addition, patients with mild to severe depression visited the emergency room three times more often, compared to those without depression. Because those assessed in this study were a convenience sample, it’s unclear how generalizable the findings are.

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