Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Antidepressants Often Unnecessary

 My opinion:  Though I frequently discuss the overuse on antidepressants in many of my articles, I'd like to focus on it a bit more.  As common as depression is, we need a new system to diagnose it.  First off, this report suggests that it depression is misdiagnosed more often among the elderly and the less educated.  It's possible that doctors hold biases against these groups, even though prior research has shown that the old are actually happier than younger people.  Doctors shouldn't judge these patients by face value, but perhaps they should ask them questions about their long-term moods.  This may eliminate giving antidepressants to patients who appear sad at the doctor's appointment, but may be happier elsewhere.  Also, since many of these doctors who prescribe antidepressants aren't psychiatrists, maybe psychiatrists should be teaching them the proper diagnostic tools.  Though that may take care of many situations, what if the patient is feigning depression just to get the drugs?  Is it possible for doctors to see through histrionics?  Feel free to comment.

Misdiagnoses pushing rise of antidepressants

By  Roni Caryn Rabin
The New York Times Tuesday August 13, 2013 7:06 AM
Over the past two decades, the use of antidepressants has skyrocketed. One in 10 Americans now takes an antidepressant medication; among women in their 40s and 50s, the figure is 1 in 4.
Experts have offered numerous reasons. Depression is common, and economic struggles have added to stress and anxiety. Television ads promote antidepressants, and insurance plans usually cover them, even while limiting talk therapy. But a recent study suggests another explanation: that the condition is being overdiagnosed on a remarkable scale.
The study, published in April in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, found that nearly two-thirds of a sample of more than 5,000 patients who had been given a diagnosis of depression within the previous 12 months did not meet the criteria for major depressive episode as described by the psychiatrists’ bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (or DSM).

From: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/national_world/2013/08/13/misdiagnoses-pushing-rise-of-antidepressants.html

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