Over-Diagnosis More Problematic Than Under-Diagnosis


Christopher Dowrick and Allen Frances write, in an article for the British Medical Journal, that though the prevalence of major depressive disorder in the U.S. has remained static, its diagnosis has doubled in 20 years. “Turning grief and other life stresses into mental disorders represents medical intrusion on personal emotions. It adds unnecessary medication and costs, and distracts attention and resources from those who really need them,” they conclude.

Abstract →

Dowrick, C., Frances, A.; Medicalising unhappiness: new classification of depression risks more patients being put on drug treatment from which they will not benefit. British Medical Journal. December, 2013. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj

Of further interest:
Depression ‘over-diagnosed’ with drugs dished out to patients who are simply sad or unable to sleep, warns expert (Mail Online)

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].