Study: Depression Dramatically Overdiagnosed, Drugs Overprescribed

A Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study found that 2/3rds of people diagnosed with depression and taking psychiatric medications for it did not actually meet the criteria for being depressed. The tendency was particularly acute amongst older people:

“Depression over-diagnosis and over-treatment is common in the U.S. and frankly the numbers are staggering,” said Ramin J. Mojtabai, PhD, author of the study and an associate professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Mental Health. “Among study participants who were 65 years old or older with clinician-identified depression, 6 out of every 7 did not meet the 12-month major-depressive-episodes criteria.”
One of the key reasons this is happening, according to Mojtabai, is “clinicians’ uncertainty about the diagnostic criteria” for depression.