A primary care focus on the treatment of patients with major depressive disorder

Karen Weihs, Jonathan M. Wert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common psychiatric illness affecting nearly 20% of adults in the United States at least once during their lifetime. MDD is frequently diagnosed and treated in the primary care setting. Management of the disease may be complicated by patients and family members feeling stigmatized by the diagnosis and not understanding that depression is a treatable medical illness, which, in turn, fosters low rates of adherence to treatment recommendations. Incomplete or delayed response to treatment, adverse events associated with antidepressants and medical or psychiatric comorbidities also interfere with optimal depression management. This article presents an overview of diagnostic and treatment guidelines for MDD and focuses on challenges encountered by primary care physicians. The role of antidepressant medications, psychotherapy and nonpharmacologic interventions for the treatment of patients with MDD is described, and factors influencing treatment selection, such as adverse event profiles and patient characteristics, are examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)324-330
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of the Medical Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Antidepressant treatment
  • Collaborative care
  • Depression
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Somatic interventions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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