All U.S. adults should be screened for depression, panel recommends

February 05, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

Scientific American

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued new guidelines recommending that all adults ages 18 and older be screened for depression, including pregnant and postpartum women. This recommendation is similar to the USPSTF’s 2009 recommendation. However, unlike before, there is now enough evidence to include pregnant and postpartum women. “The task force has determined that there is enough good-quality evidence to be confident that the benefits of screening for depression outweigh the harms for the general adult population, including pregnant and postpartum women,” said Karina Davidson, a member of the task force and a professor at Columbia University Medical Center. “This is because we found evidence that screening for depression in the primary care setting is accurate, that treatment for depression is effective for people detected through screening and the likelihood of harms from screening or treatments are small.” The best timing for when screening should start and how often it should be conducted are not known. However, the task force suggested screening all adults who have not yet been screened and then using clinical judgment to determine if and when each patient should be screened again.

Spark Extra! For more information on this recommendation, look at the Final Recommendation Statement.