August 17, 2007


Depression is over-diagnosed, psychiatrist claims (David Batty, August 17, 2007, Guardian Unlimited)

Too many people are being diagnosed with depression when they are merely unhappy, a senior psychiatrist said today.

Normal emotions are sometimes being treated as mental illness because the threshold for clinical depression is too low, according to Professor Gordon Parker.

Prof Parker said depression had become a "catch-all" diagnosis, driven by clever marketing from pharmaceutical companies and leading to the burgeoning prescription of antidepressant drugs.

Writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), he said the drugs were being marketed beyond their "true utility" in cases in which people were unhappy rather than clinically depressed.

The psychiatrist, of the University of New South Wales, Australia, said the "over-diagnosis" of depression began in the early 80s, when the diagnostic threshold for minor mood disorders was lowered.

His 15-year study of 242 teachers found that more than three-quarters met the current criteria for depression.

The lion's share of the blame should be pinned on the folks who demand the meds from their doctors rather than function like normal human beings.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 17, 2007 12:00 AM
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