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Differences between patients with identified and not identified psychiatric disorders in primary care

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Objective: The aim of this study was to discover the differences between the primary care patients with a psychiatric disorder whose illness was detected and the patients whose disorder was not detected.

Method: We collected 1000 randomly selected PC patients. We used SCL‐25 as a screening method and PSE as a diagnostic tool.

Results: Ninety‐one (89.2%) of the interviewed patients received a psychiatric diagnosis. The physicians detected a disorder in 36 (36.9%). A larger part of the undetected group belonged to the highest social groups. Also the SCL‐25 mean scores differed significantly, indicating that the symptoms of the undetected cases were milder. The detected cases had higher levels of anxiety and depression, but the difference in anxiety symptoms was greater between the groups. Detection was associated with treatment.

Conclusion: The GPs should also be aware of psychiatric morbidity in patients with a higher social status, a good level of education and milder symptoms.
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Keywords: anxiety; depression; detection; primary care; psychiatric morbidity

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Turku, Department of Psychiatry, Turku, 2: University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital, Oula and 3: National Development and Research Centre for Welfare and Health, Finland

Publication date: 2000-11-01

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