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Diagnosis and Referral of Workplace Depression

Kahn, Jeffrey P. MD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: April 2008 - Volume 50 - Issue 4 - p 396-400
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31816c0043
Original Articles

Objective: Effective treatment requires understanding of the many possible reasons for employees and patients to complain of “depression.”

Methods: This process of differential diagnosis includes panic anxiety, thyroid and other medical conditions, as well as several distinct types of depression (including atypical depression and melancholia).

Results: Much of workplace depression care can be delivered by occupational health and mental health professionals. Optimal treatment requires accurate and specific diagnosis, and focused care. And, some cases require urgent psychiatric referral, while less urgent referral is important for some others.

Conclusions: Optimal diagnosis and specific treatment is a cost effective approach that saves money for employers, while helping employees.

From WorkPsych Associates, New York, New York; and Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, New York.

CME Available for this Article at

Jeffrey P. Kahn has no commercial interest related to this research.

Address correspondence to: Jeffrey P. Kahn, MD, Suite 1C, 300 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024. E-mail:

©2008The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine