Depressed? You might not be

By From page A4 | May 06, 2013

“Among study participants who were 65 years old or older with clinician-identified depression, six out of every seven did not meet the 12-month major-depressive-episodes criteria,” Ramin J. Mojtabai, Ph.D., author of the study and an associate professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Mental Health told Nature World News.

That’s a lot of people in a very strong generation possibly given bad advice that could affect the golden years of their lives. But it’s not just one generation that’s being led in the wrong direction.

According to a recent study conducted at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, when assessed for major depressive episodes using a structured interview, only 38.4 percent of adults with clinician-identified depression met the 12-month criteria for depression, despite the majority of participants being prescribed and using psychiatric medications.

“Depression over-diagnosis and over-treatment is common in the U.S. and frankly the numbers are staggering,” Mojtabai said. “While participants who did not meet the criteria used significantly fewer services and treatment contacts, the majority of both groups used prescription psychiatric medication.”

Sad about something that happened recently? Pop a Zoloft. Can’t get over the hump of day-to-day life? Take a Lexapro. All will be right with the world, at least until your next dosage is needed.

That’s the philosophy some have become accustomed to, a coping mechanism that’s a vital one for those who actually need it. But what if you really don’t? The study suggests we in the United States might be overdoing it.

It indicates that of participants without a lifetime history of major or minor depression, a majority reported having taken prescription psychiatric medications. Essentially, many folks are popping pills when they don’t need to, but they’re convinced they have to.

The sample of participants — 5,639 of them — were from the 2009-2010 United States National Survey of Drug Use and Health, and subjects were assessed clinician-identified depression based on questions about conditions that the participants were told they had by a doctor or other medical professional in the past 12 months. With only just over a third of them actually meeting the 12-month criteria for depression, the rest could possibly be treated another way for their “depression.”

There are obviously many severe cases that do need psychiatric medications; we’re not denying that. But you might not be one of them.

We prescribe a weekend discovering El Dorado County as good medicine. When the weather is great, the county is bountiful, with plenty to see and do. It’s got enough to make anyone smile, from the casual walker wanting to see historical sites to the adventurer wanting to four-wheel up a mountain or raft through rapids on a river.

Mountain Democrat

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