Researchers announced that most Americans with depression aren’t usually treated at all. Meanwhile, most adults who seem to get treatment may not have tested positive.
Experts are considering that a stronger effort is needed to support those with the mood disorder.
According to the study, fewer than one-third of Americans who test positive for depression are indeed treated.
This common mental disorder affects about 14.8 million American adults in a given year.
Dr. Mark Olfson, the lead author of the research and professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, is shocked by the findings because there has been a visible rise in prescribing antidepressants over the last several years. He assumed that the under-treatment is no longer a problem.
The study showed that there were some groups – ethnic and racial minorities, men, adults with limited education, – who are particularly unlikely to undergo treatment for their symptoms.
Olfson and his partners examined self-reported mental health information on 46,417 individuals. The data collected in 2012 and 2013, were a component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys. The research followed to see which participants are receiving treatment after being screened positive for depression.
The study then revealed that 8.4 percent of the adults surveyed had tested positive for the mental illness, but only 28.7 percent of them were given any depression medication during the yearlong period of the investigation.
Meantime, amongst the 8.1 percent of adults examined who had been getting some form of depression therapy, only 29.9% had screened positive for the mental illness. However, no information regarding the outcomes of the treatment was received.
Dr. Mark Olfson also noted that among the participants who are treated, those with more severe emotional distress are less likely to be given antidepressants than those with minor suffering.
The most traditional treatment taken by the study participants were antidepressants succeeded by anxiolytics, psychotherapy, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics.
The disorder is usually characterized by feelings of fatigue and sadness, loss of interest in regular activities, anxiety, sleep disturbances, suicidal thoughts and difficulty with focusing, among other symptoms.
The main reason why participants are not receiving treatment, according to Dr. Olfson is that some of them are facing shame and stigma and might not understand that they could benefit from treatment.
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