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Many Cases of Depression in Adults Not Being Treated

Survey found that only a third of patients with depression receive any treatment

TUESDAY, Aug. 30, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Many American adults who suffer from depression aren’t getting treatment, according to a study published online Aug. 29 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues screened data on 46,417 survey respondents. The team found that 8.4 percent screened positive for depression, but only a third (28.7 percent) had received any treatment.

The most common treatments for depression were antidepressants and psychotherapy. Depressed patients were more likely to be treated by a primary care doctor, while those with serious psychological distress were more likely to be treated by a psychiatrist. Patients with Medicare and Medicaid were more likely to be treated for depression, while uninsured patients and minorities were least likely to get treatment.

The survey also found that some patients are overtreated with antidepressants. “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 told HealthDay.

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