It’s not always depression. A new study has revealed that doctors diagnose a patient with depression far more often than is true. In fact, nearly one in four people who appear depressed are really just having a tough time. They are having a normal mental breakdown that comes after a divorce, a job loss, or an investment that went sour.
The new look at depression comes from a survey of more than 8,000 Americans. As it stands, doctors and psychiatrists look at your medical history when seeing if you suffer depression. They look for any issues in your life, or an underlying medical problem, before diagnosing you as having depression.
But at the American Psychiatric Association, they don’t include normal feelings of sadness. Also, health clinics around the country are using simple checklists to see if a patient is suffering depression. The question is: does the person have actual depression or is he/she just sad? It’s an important question, because it could mean the difference between taking a major drug and not taking it. Drugs with side effects.
Researchers say we should define depression differently. They found that the 30 million U.S. adults who’ve had depression at least once is about 25% too high. In other words, 7.5 million people were just sad. They didn’t have a “disorder”.
The survey’s questions were designed to find mood problems, and find any time sadness that could have caused it. A dissolved marriage or the death of a loved one are two prominent examples. Grief looks like depression, except it starts going away in weeks or months. Depression is rooted in one’s brain, and stays for much longer — sometimes an entire lifetime.
The study found 56 people who had grief because of a death, and another 174 who were stressed after some other situation. But all of them would qualify for depression under the current system. It’s difficult because they can have depressive symptoms such as insomnia, suicidal thoughts, and loss of appetite.
As a patient, you can still seek help for grief obviously. Knowing that depression is another matter altogether is important for getting over the grief period. For normal sadness, antidepressants are not the best option.