Are Antidepressants Being Overprescribed?

The last twenty years have seen the use of antidepressants grow to 10 percent of Americans now using some sort of anti-depressant.  The gradual change from alternate therapeutic methods, economic factors, media ads, and general anxiety, temporary problems with relationships,  and life stress could be some of the reasons depression is being over-diagnosed, and mis-diagnosed.  According to a study from the Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics journal, out of 5000 patients given a massive depression diagnosis, roughly two thirds did not meet the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ) guidelines for major depressive episodes for the year previous to their being prescribed anti depressant therapy for afflictions that may be short term and transient, and not indicating a  need for drug therapy.

Diagnosis of depression is based on observation, history of the patient and the symptoms, which can be subjective when the patient is being seen in a general practitioner’s office setting, which can vary from the methods used diagnostically  in psychiatric office settings.

One way that is suggested to combat the possible overuse of anti-depressants is for doctors and clinicians to improve their diagnostic skills, and referrals to mental health professionals that can better serve the needs of those who seem depressed and may be in need of antidepressants.

Summarized from:  ”A Glut of Antidepressants”  By RONI CARYN RABIN  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/

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