Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Two Thirds of People on Antidepressants Aren't Clinically Depressed

What Dr. Forman (below) doesn't say is that the main reason patients are taking antidepressants even when they are not needed is that many physicians actually believe the "chemical imbalance" theory of depression. Primary care physicians should be referring patients to a mental health expert (e.g., clinical psychologist) to make the diagnosis and recommend treatment options.

Medical Daily

"A new study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reports some 69 percent of people taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the primary type of antidepressants, have never suffered from major depressive disorder (MDD). Perhaps worse, 38 percent have never in their lifetime met the criteria for MDD, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, or generalized anxiety disorder, yet still take the pills that accompany them.
In a society that is increasingly self-medicating itself, capsules, tablets, and pills are turning from last resorts to easily obtained quick fixes. Between 1988 and 2008, antidepressant use increased nearly 400 percent. Today, 11 percent of the American population takes a regular antidepressant, which, by the latest study’s measure, may be a severe inflation of what’s actually necessary.
“I think while psychotherapy is another option to helping people obtain better mental health, there are roadblocks,” said Dr. Howard Forman, medical director of the Addiction Consultation Service at Montefiore Medical Center. Forman, who wasn’t involved with the study, points toward cost, availability of experts, and time demands as the main reasons people may decide to pursue alternatives."

Source: Takayanagi Y, Spira A, Bienvenu O, et al. Antidepressant Use and Lifetime History of Mental Disorders in a Community Sample: Results From the Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2015.

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