Does depression screening help?
Or does it lead, in the current medical system, to overmedicating the public with antidepressants?
These questions are at the heart of the depression screening controversy, reported in Medscape.
Despite being recommended by numerous task forces, screening for depression may be doing more harm than good, according to controversial new research from Canada.
In Canada and the U.S., there are more people taking antidepressant medications than have depression, the lead author of the study Brett D. Thombs, PhD, from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, told Medscape.
Dr. Thombs explained "In Canada, 7% to 8% of adults over the age of 35 are on an antidepressant, whereas the estimated rate of depression in the population is 4%. In the United States, 15% of adults over 35 are on antidepressants, and this far exceeds the rate of depression in that country, so we’re putting more people on medication than actually need it,"
But some experts are critical of the study conclusions. A professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, New York Anton P. Porsteinsson, MD, told Medcscape:
"It is very well known that depression is associated with multiple negative outcomes. There is lower compliance with treatment, and depression may also be an early harbinger of dementia. So we should be looking for it," he said.
But here is another question—what if after people found out that they had depression, then had access to non- drug therapies for depression, such as therapy, meditation, exercise and nutrition? Maybe the problem isn’t the knowledge the screening can provide, but the lack of choices in treatment approaches.
Discover the connection between nutrition and depression in Bad Fats Linked to Depression
Learn more about the overmedication issue in the book:
by John Abramson, M.D., member of the clinical faculty at Harvard Medical School, where he teaches primary care.
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