Are the depressed getting enough treatment?

There’s an article by Dr. Friedman in the New York Times that basically counters the recent study finding about how antidepressant may only work for severe depression. He sums it up as, “Experts may disagree about what constitutes the best treatment for depression, and for whom. But there is no question that the safety and efficacy of antidepressants rest on solid scientific evidence.”

The article was interesting, but the following sentence caught my eye: “Antidepressants are not interchangeable; studies show that a patient who fails to respond to one has about a 30 percent chance of responding to another.”

Also, there is another study coming out in the Archives of General Psychiatry that only about half of all Americans with depression receive treatment of any kind. Moreover, only 1 in 5 are getting care — talk therapy, medication or both — that conforms to American Psychiatric Association guidelines.

For me, knowing the reality about drug efficacy is currently more pertinent to me since I already receive both meds and talk therapy. However, the numbers of people who are not receiving any treatment at all is staggering in a time when various forms of treatment are available. According to a new study by San Diego State Univ. psychology professor Jean Twenge, it has found that five times as many high school and college students in the U.S. are dealing with anxiety and other mental health issues than youth of the same age who were studied in the Great Depression era. But maybe these numbers wouldn’t be so high if we were giving adequate treatment. Of course, the stats may have increased simply because we have better diagnosing skills, but still, that does not absolve our society from giving out treatment. And if someone is in the business of handing out therapy or medication, perhaps they should think about following the APA guidelines.

I hope that these high school and college kids get the treatment they need while they’re still young. If they can get on the right footing now, it’ll be a much easier road to recovery, I think.

How to find mental health care when money is tight: NYT

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