Mood disorders are commonly encountered in general practice. Some patients with mood disorder require referral but all will benefit from careful assessment and specific interventions in general practice.
- Mood disorders are commonly encountered in general practice and include the depressive disorders, bipolar disorders and cyclothymia.
- Patients may present with psychological symptoms, somatic symptoms or affective cues, or may attend about another problem not directly associated with their mood disorder.
- Sensitive and empathic exploration of the symptoms and problems offered by the patient is the essential first step; subsequent assessment should include biological, psychological and contextual issues, including comorbidities and vascular risk factors.
- Management is multimodal, including psychoeducation, lifestyle advice, talking and behavioural therapies, medication and appropriate referral.
- Structured problem solving can be a useful strategy for helping the patient address psychosocial stressors.
- The doctor’s therapeutic alliance with the patient is an essential aspect of management.