Discuss a screening tool that can be used in the primary care setting

Depression is a common psychiatric disorder in children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly. Primary care providers, not mental health professionals, treat the majority of patients with symptoms of depression. Persons who are depressed have feelings of sadness, loneliness, irritability, worthlessness, hopelessness, agitation, and guilt that may be accompanied by an array of physical symptoms as well as substance abuse. Identifying patients with depression and substance abuse can be difficult in busy primary care settings where time is limited, but certain depression/substance abuse screening tools may help diagnose the disorder.

Discuss a screening tool that can be used in the primary care setting that can help with the identification of patients with depression and or substance abuse. What is your responsibility as a primary care provider to this patient once a disorder has been identified?

please include 3 references APA format

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Depression and substance abuse are prevalent psychiatric disorders that primary care providers often encounter. Screening tools can aid in identifying patients who are struggling with depression and substance abuse in busy primary care settings. This can lead to earlier intervention and treatment, improving patient outcomes. As a primary care provider, it is important to be aware of screening tools and one’s responsibility when a disorder is identified.


One screening tool that can be used in the primary care setting to help identify patients with depression and substance abuse is the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). The PHQ-9 is a simple questionnaire that assesses the frequency and severity of depressive symptoms. The AUDIT is a screening tool that assesses alcohol consumption patterns, alcohol-related problems, and alcohol dependence. Using both tools together can identify patients with depression and potential alcohol abuse.

As a primary care provider, once a disorder has been identified, it is important to provide appropriate treatment or referral for treatment. Treatment may include therapy, medications, or a combination of both. Referral to a mental health professional may also be necessary for patients with more severe depression or those with substance abuse disorders. In addition, ongoing monitoring and follow-up are essential for successful treatment outcomes.


1. Kroenke K, Spitzer RL, Williams JB. The PHQ-9: validity of a brief depression severity measure. J Gen Intern Med. 2001;16(9):606-613. doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.2001.016009606.x

2. Reinert DF, Allen JP. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT): a review of recent research. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2002;26(2):272-279. doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2002.tb02534.x

3. Wintersteen MB, Mensinger JL, Diamond GS. Do primary care providers detect depression using a brief screening measure?. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2010;20(5):379-386. doi:10.1089/cap.2009.0128

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