Papers And Originals

Treatment of Depression in General Practice

Br Med J 1973; 2 doi: (Published 07 April 1973) Cite this as: Br Med J 1973;2:18
  1. D. A. W. Johnson


    With the co-operation of the family doctors in five selected urban general practices the general-practitioner treatment of 73 patients suffering from a new episode of depressive illness was evaluated over a period of four months. The purpose was to test the belief that general practitioners are best fitted to manage most psychological ailments, and depression was chosen as the psychiatric illness most commonly seen in general practice. Medication was the principal treatment offered, and this was often inadequate in dosage or the patient defaulted. Drug defaulting was thought to be due partly to failure of supervision and follow-up and to too low a consultation rate. The low consultation rate was also thought to explain why few patients thought there was a therapeutic value in the doctor-patient relationship. The results of the study indicate that patients with depressive illness do not receive the best treatment in general practice. The reasons are several and responsibility must be shared by the medical practitioners, the current system of the general practice, and the patients themselves.