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date: 18 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The prevalence of depression is substantial among individuals with medical conditions and is associated with poorer treatment outcome for both the mood disorder and medical condition. This chapter examines the prevalence, risk factors, causal associations, and treatment for depression in four medical conditions: cancer, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS. Several conclusions are evident: First, depression is unrecognized in about 30% of medical patients, and twice as many medical patients experience depression relative to the general population. Second, regardless of the medical illness, there are common risk factors for depression. Third, individuals with medical illness are most vulnerable to developing depression in the year following medical diagnosis. Fourth, the relationship between depression and medical comorbidities is bidirectional. Fifth, although there are promising psychological and pharmacological interventions for individuals with comorbid depression and medical problems, significant methodological problems limit this research. These limitations must be addressed to provide optimal care for those with depression and a chronic medical condition.

Keywords: mood disorders, medical comorbidities, pharmacological interventions, depressive syndromes, depression

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