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Psychiatric Disorder Three- Minute Checklist Accurate

The first step to receiving treatment is through the identification of the medical problem, many individuals are often unaware that their moods may possibly be a psychiatric disorder.

"About 1 in 10 Americans who suffer from depression and anxiety-related mental health disorders never receive treatment because they don’t understand what’s wrong, and when they go to their family doctor these treatable illnesses are too often missed," said Dr. Bradley Gaynes, M.P.H., an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

Gaynes led a study into the validity and effectiveness of a 27-item questionnaire as a screen for four illnesses: depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The questionnaire, My Mood Monitor (M-3), was designed to in three minutes evaluate checklist answers to provide a dedicated risk analysis of the individual.

Gaynes conducted a study to test the accuracy of the questionnaire as a screen. Six hundred forty-seven adults over 18-years-old seeking care at the UNC Family Medicine Center between July 2007 and February 2008 were enrolled in the study. They were given a paper version of the checklist, after completing the list their doctors then reviewed their emotional health with them.

Researchers later interviewed each person within 30 days of their doctor visit and assigned finaldiagnoses. Gaynes then compared the diagnoses with the participants’ answers to the checklist. The results showed that the M-3 was effective in screening for any mood or anxiety disorder 83 percent of the time and for a specific disorder in 76 percent of cases.

"The M-3 is a valid, efficient, and feasible tool for screening multiple common psychiatric illnesses in primary care. Its accuracy is equivalent to existing single disorder screens with the benefit of being combined into a one-page tool. It has the potential to reduce missed psychiatric diagnoses and assure proper treatment of those identified," concluded Gaynes in his study.

Gaynes said the research team is currently designing a second study to measure the effectiveness of the M-3 questionnaire in monitoring their mental health status over time.

The M-3 was created by primary collaborators Dr. Robert M. Post, head of the Bipolar Collaborative Network; Dr. Bernard M. Snyder, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University and a cognitive behavioral therapist; Michael L. Byer, president of M-3 information; and Dr. Gerald Hurowitz, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and a clinical psychopharmacologist.

Address: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, 200 E Cameron Ave., Chapel Hill, NC 27514; (919) 962-2211,

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