Adults Should Not Be Routinely Screened For Depression

Adults who do not have any obvious symptoms of depression should not have routine screening for the condition. This is according to new evidence-based guidelines published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, which found such testing is not recommended in primary care settings because there is a lack of evidence regarding the benefits and dangers of screening for depression.

Presented by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (CTFPHC), the suggestions do not apply to individuals who have known depression, are receiving treatment for it or have a history of it.

The authors wrote: "In the absence of a demonstrated benefit of screening and in consideration of the potential harms, we recommend not routinely screening for depression in primary care settings."

They explained this should be followed with regard to both adults at average risk of depression and those whose risk of experiencing the condition is increased due to their characteristics.

Chartered Psychologist Dr Chris Allen says:

"This Canadian guidance, based on a review by Keshavarz et al., suggests:

Adults without symptoms of depression should not be screened, as the majority who are then identified tend to recover anyway within three months that once screened appropriate interventions are not always in place;

That the sensitivity of some screening instruments that are used are poor that unnecessary treatment can occur stigma can be a result of receiving the diagnosis.

Read the full report here