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Best Depression Treatment: The One You Want

Antidepressants or Therapy? Patient's Preference Most Effective

A Wake-Up Call to Doctors

There's a lesson here for primary-care doctors -- usually the first health-care professional a person with depression sees.

If their doctor merely refers them to a mental health specialist, Chaney says, many patients will simply fail to seek further help. But when doctors ask about patients' treatment preferences, they are more likely to end up with a helpful prescription or referral. That's especially true if a trained nurse practitioner or physician assistant follows up the visit with a call.

"Medical education is moving in the direction of helping primary-care doctors deal with the mental-care issues that come to them," Chaney says. "One part of this skill set is listening to the patient's preference and taking this into account."

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