Depressed Or Not, That Is The Question


By Zhai Yun Tan | The Washington Post

Most Americans who screen positive for depression don’t receive treatment, while most who do receive treatment don’t actually have the condition. These are among the findings of a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

“Over the last several years there has been an increase in prescription of antidepressants,” said Mark Olfson, a professor of psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center and lead author of the study. “In that context, many people assumed that undertreatment of depression is no longer a common problem.”

But Olfson found the opposite to be true after analyzing data from surveys that included questionnaires to screen for depression. Of the 46,417 adults surveyed, 8 percent answered in ways that suggested they had depression, but only 29 percent of those who seemed to need help received any treatment for it. (Read More)


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Thanks to Zhai Yun Tan for writing the article; The Washington Post for committing its resources to the article; Google for helping me find the article; and all the people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible to include the picture, text, and links in this post.



    1. Sandra,

      While there areas of the health care system that could benefit from improvement, it is not clear to me that the entire system is broken. Fixing the problem might be a simple as mandating policy changes, or it might be as complex as enacting new laws, modifying procedures, a jailing executives who make decisions based on their bonus rather than on the wellbeing of customers. The problem seems to be the incentive structure rather than the entire system. ~ Scott

    1. Lexie, knowing or naming the problem is certainly helpful, but I cannot explain why it works. I suppose it is some type of placebo effect. It works with me too.

  1. I think I was depressed for years. But it hit me real hard this year. My TBI was in 1991, a long time ago, so why did it all of the sudden get way worse?

    1. Lexie, I am not a doctor and I do not know the specifics of your case. There could be many factors that caused the recent episode of depression. Some of it may have been caused by past events, but it may have been caused by completely unrelated current events. Sorry I could not be more specific. However, I can offer a few universal tips about overcoming depression — if even one of the tips helps you, that is success in my mind. ~ Scott

  2. Hi Scott,
    As someone who has dealt with clinical depression much of my life, I find this to be a very sad finding. Those that need help usually don’t get help, and those that get help usually don’t actually need it. It’s a legacy of our healthcare system. Hopefully one that will start changing over time due to Obamacare and the validation it proclvides to mental healthcare. Don’t know if it will reign in psychiatric pill pushers or people who could probably manage their mental health needs with a little knowledge and effort.

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