GP consultations for common mental disorders and subsequent sickness certification: register-based study of the employed population in Norway
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Challenges related to work are in focus when employed people with common mental disorders (CMDs) consult their GPs. Many become sickness certified and remain on sick leave over time.
Objectives. To investigate the frequency of new CMD episodes among employed patients in Norwegian general practice and subsequent sickness certification.
Methods. Using a national claims register, employed persons with a new episode of CMD were included. Sickness certification, sick leave over 16 days and length of absences were identified. Patient- and GP-related predictors for the different outcomes were assessed by means of logistic regression.
Results. During 1 year 2.6% of employed men and 4.2% of employed women consulted their GP with a new episode of CMD. Forty-five percent were sickness certified, and 24 percent were absent over 16 days. Thirty-eight percent had depression and 19% acute stress reaction, which carried the highest risk for initial sickness certification, 75%, though not for prolonged absence. Men and older patients had lower risk for sickness certification, but higher risk for long-term absence.
Conclusion.Better knowledge of factors at the workplace detrimental to mental health, and better treatment for depression and stress reactions might contribute to timely return of sickness absentees.