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Psychological medicine

Depression in the physically ill patient

Chee H Ng, Isaac Schweitzer, Kay Maguire

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Abstract

Medical illness can become a psychological burden to some patients, leading to depression that significantly affects their outcomes and prognoses.

Article Extract

Depression and physical illness have been recognised as being closely linked since the early 1900s. Despite this, the presence of depression in physically ill patients is often missed and, therefore, not treated appropriately. There are several reasons why depression may not be diagnosed, including:

  • difficulty differentiating depression from a patient’s normal emotional response to physical illness
  • difficulty distinguishing symptoms of depression from those of the physical disease itself
  • difficulty distinguishing symptoms of depression from the side effects of treatment for the physical disorder.

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