Complaints of depression and anxiety are very common among adult patients seeking treatment in primary care settings, and primary care providers prescribe the majority of medications for these conditions. Psychiatrists are often asked to evaluate and manage patients with major depression or anxiety disorders who have not improved after treatment in primary care. We highlight ten frequently overlooked aspects of the care of patients who present with depression and anxiety in primary care. Chief among these aspects is the consideration of a thorough differential diagnosis, particularly bipolar disorder, psychotic disorders, dementia and substance abuse, each of which requires specific treatment approaches. Additional considerations include avoidance of medications or doses that may aggravate anxiety symptoms and regular follow-ups to assess symptomatic and functional improvement. Finally, it is important to actively manage the treatment through dose escalation, switching medications or employing additional treatment components until remission is achieved. Judicious use of benzodiazepine clonazepam and appropriate referrals to psychotherapy can contribute to optimal treatment outcomes.
Keywords: antidepressive agents; anxiety disorders; depressive disorder; medical errors; primary healthcare.
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