Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Taipei Times: If everyone is ill, then no one is

Tapei Times
By Christopher Lane
Tuesday, Apr 01, 2008

The US has reached a point where almost half its population is described as being in some way mentally ill, and nearly a quarter of its citizens -- 67.5 million -- have taken antidepressants.

These eye-popping statistics have sparked a widespread, sometimes rancorous debate about whether people are taking far more medication than is needed for problems that may not even be mental disorders.

Studies indicate that 40 percent of all patients fall short of the diagnoses that doctors and psychiatrists give them, yet 200 million prescriptions are still written annually in the US to treat depression and anxiety.

Those who defend such widespread use of prescription drugs insist that a significant part of the population is under-treated and, by inference, under-medicated. Those opposed to such rampant use of drugs note that diagnostic rates for bipolar disorder, in particular, have skyrocketed by 4,000 percent and that overmedication is impossible without over-diagnosis.

To help settle this long-standing dispute, I studied why the number of recognized psychiatric disorders has ballooned so dramatically in recent decades.

Read the rest of the article here ...

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