Thursday, April 05, 2007

25% of Depression is Misdiagnosed

Research suggests that 25% of people diagnosed as clinically depressed might not be. These people, researchers at Columbia University Clinical Psychiatry say, are simply sad or grief stricken. Researchers poured over thousands of depression checklists and found that one in four respondents who would have been labeled depressed were actually dealing with a loss that would make anyone sad.

The standard American Psychiatric Association checklist of depression symptoms does not consider hardships in life like death, divorce, loss of a job, relocation when evaluating a patient for depression. It is normal to experience sadness and grief over such losses.

On the "industry standard" depression screening checklist, questions like these are asked;
- Are you experiencing persistent sad, anxiousness or an "empty" mood?
- Do you have a loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex?
- Do you have decreased energy or fatigue?Do you experience Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping?
- Do you have appetite and/or weight loss, or overeating and weight gain?
- Do you have difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions?
- Are you restless or irritable?

Researchers believe the simple checklist needs to be fixed to better define whether the symptoms are the result of temporary sadness or clinical depression. A depression diagnosis is too important to get wrong - especially given the side effects to antidepressants typically prescribed for depressed patients.

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