3 years ago

Clinician identification of elevated symptoms of depression among individuals seeking treatment for substance misuse

Depression is common among those experiencing alcohol and other drug (AOD) disorders. It has been suggested that identifying depressive symptoms among this group is important for case management. Despite this, there is a lack of research examining how well clinicians perform this task within this setting. Aims To determine the: (i) accuracy of clinician identified elevated symptoms of depression among clients seeking treatment for AOD misuse as compared to a standardized self-report psychiatric screening tool; and (ii) clinician and client characteristics associated with accurate identification of elevated symptoms of depression. Methods The study used a descriptive cohort design. Participants from two Australian AOD outpatient clinics reported demographic data and completed the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) to identify elevated symptoms of depression. Clinicians were asked to indicate the presence or absence of depression for individual clients. Client and clinician data were compared. Results Sensitivity of clinician identified elevated symptoms of depression, compared with the PHQ-9, was moderate at 73.0% (95% CI=63.7, 81.0) and specificity was low with 49.5% (95% CI=39.9, 61.2) accurately identified as not having elevated symptoms of depression. AOD clinicians’ years’ of experience, clients’ main substance and length of treatment were associated with accuracy of identification. Conclusion Clinicians identify elevated symptoms of depression with moderate accuracy amongst individuals with AOD disorders. There is a tendency to over-identify which may contribute to inaccuracies. Routine screening may assist in improving identification of depressive symptoms and place greater focus on mental health comorbidities.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0376871617304957

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