Are we both overtreated and undertreated?

A new study reports that most people diagnosed with recent depression don’t get adequate treatment. In national surveys of more than 15,000 adults, researchers found that 8.3% met the diagnostic criteria for major depression during the previous year. About half those diagnosed received some form of treatment for depression, but less than a quarter were treated using strategies considered effective and used in accordance with American Psychiatric Association practice guidelines, one study found.

“Few Americans with depression actually get any kind of care, and even fewer get care consistent with the standards of care,” said Hector Gonzalez, first author on the study published by the Archives of General Psychiatry and an assistant professor of family medicine, public health and gerontology at Wayne State University in Detroit.

But at the same time, psychiatrists are increasingly prescribing more than one psychotropic drug for patients during a single office visit, according to a separate study also published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. In many cases, there isn’t good evidence to show that combining medicines is better than taking just one. (go to Wall Street Journal article to read more)

I do take more than one psychotropic medication to treat my illness, but I know that I am one of the lucky ones when it comes to the type of treatment I receive. My psychiatrist is also my therapist, so each of my appointments are 50 minutes long. And she’s known me for six years. I didn’t  realize til lately that many people only see their psychiatrists for a few minutes and really have no meaningful contact with them. I’m very thankful that I found my “Dr. Melfi” and that I have the means to be able to continue treatment from her.

2 Comments to “Are we both overtreated and undertreated?”

  1. Iapplaud you for talking about your personal story. I believe that despite being a heavily medicated society depression and other mental disorders are undertreated because medicine is so fragmented we do not see doctors who know us let alone our families. Doctors are spending less time with patients and do not are reluctant to take the time to screen for depression.

    The insurance industry would prefer that patients get their therapy from social workers and their medications from psychiatrists.

    Isee a psychiatrist who is my therapist as well as the person who prescribes my meds. However there are people who do not need therapy and are well-served by seeing a psychopharmacologist

  2. I’d like to talk to you about reprinting a portion of this article on our website, Would you please send me an email?

    Thank you!

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