General practitioners' views towards diagnosing and treating depression in five South-Eastern European countries
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Hranov, Georgi L.
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Duric, P., Harhaji, S., O'May, F., Boderscova, L., Chihai, J., Como, A., Hranov, G. L., Mihai, A. & Sotiri, E. (2018) General practitioners' views towards diagnosing and treating depression in five South-Eastern European countries. Early Intervention in Psychiatry (In Press)
Aim: To assess and compare general practitioners’ views of diagnosing and treating depression in five South Eastern European countries. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Albania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania and Serbia. The sample included 467 general practitioners who completed a hard-copy self-administered questionnaire, consisting of self-assessment questions related to diagnosing and treating depression. Results: The most common barriers to managing depression in general practice reported by GPs were: patients’ unwillingness to discuss depressive symptoms (92.3%); appointment time too short to take an adequate history (91.9%), barriers for prescribing appropriate treatment (90.6%); and patients’ reluctance to be referred to a psychiatrist (89.1%). Most GPs (78.4%) agreed that recognizing depression was their responsibility, 71.7% were confident in diagnosing depression, but less than one third (29.6%) considered that they should treat it. Conclusions: Improvements to the organisation of mental health care in all five countries should consider better training for GPs in depression diagnosis and treatment; the availability of mental health care specialists at primary care level, with ensured equal and easy access for all patients; and the removal of potential legal barriers for diagnosis and treatment of depression.