Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles is now screening all hospital patients for clinical depression, noting that the condition can delay physical healing and make recovery far more difficult.
Under the new program, a registered nurse will ask newly-admitted patients two questions about their mood and energy level. The query, which happens within 24 hours of admission, is intended to identify possible clinical depression in patients.
Those who show signs of the illness will then undergo a more detailed screening, which may lead to recommendations for treatment.
The major signs of depression*:
- A depressed or sad mood
- Diminished interest in activities which used to be pleasurable
- Weight gain or loss
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation
- Inappropriate guilt
- Difficulties concentrating
Five or more of the above symptoms must be present for a continuous period of at least two weeks for the condition to qualify as clinical depression, according to diagnostic criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association.
*Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention