Most adults who are screened positive for depression do not get treatment for their symptoms.
Most adults in United States who are suffering from depression are not getting treatment, a new study finds.
Researchers surveyed more than 46,000 American adults in 2012 and 2013. Of them more than 8 percent were screened positive for depression but only one-third actually received treatment for their illness. Overall, more than 21 percent were suffering from serious distress.
The most common treatment for depression was antidepressants followed by psychotherapy. Patients who had more serious psychological distress were less likely to receive antidepressants than those with less distress. They were mostly treated with antipsychotics, anxiolytics, mood stabilizers or psychotherapy. More specifically, among the 8.1% of all adults surveyed who had been receiving depression treatment, only 29.9% had screened positive for depression, indicating that many were not receiving right treatment. Moreover, most of them were treated by general practitioner rather than mental health professionals or psychiatrists.
“With the recent increase in prescribing of antidepressant medications, many physicians might assume that undertreatment of depression is no longer a widespread problem,” said lead author Dr. Mark Olfson, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center.
“This study makes clear, however, that most American adults who screen positive for depression receive no treatment for their symptoms.”
In many cases, patients are also reluctant to acknowledge their illness and do not believe they require any medical attention. Even, if they receive a treatment, it’s likely not the right one.
“Some patients with less prominent, milder forms of depression may request and receive antidepressants despite evidence that these medications have little or no therapeutic benefit for mild depression.”Olfson said.
Depression is a common yet serious mental disorder. More than 14.8 million American adults experience depression each year. The disorder is often characterized by sad feelings, fatigue, anxiety, lack of concentration and suicidal thoughts and a person suffering from depression certainly needs help to get rid of this problem.
“Among adults who receive depression care, it is important to align patients with appropriate treatments and health care professionals,” authors wrote in the study. “With dissemination of integrated care models, opportunities exist to promote depression care that is neither too intensive nor insufficient for each patient's clinical needs.”