Log In
Sunday 20th May 2018

Depression 'over-diagnosed'

17th August 2007

A leading psychiatrist has warned that too many people are being diagnosed with depression.


Professor Gordon Parker suggests that in many cases people are simply unhappy rather than clinically depressed.

Professor Parker, writing in the British Medical Journal, says he believes the threshold for clinical depression is too low and risks treating normal emotional states as illness. He labels depression a “catch-all� diagnosis that is being driven by clever marketing.

His study – of 242 teachers over 15 years – found that more than 75% of them met the criteria for depression.

In the BMJ, Professor Parker from the University of New South Wales in Australia, said that almost everyone had symptoms such as “feeling sad, blue or down in the dumps� at some point in their lives - but this was not the same as clinical depression which required treatment.

Prescribing medication may raise false hopes and might not be effective as there was nothing biologically wrong with the patient, he said.

But Professor Ian Hickie, also writing in the BMJ, took a differing view and said that an increased diagnosis and treatment of depression has led to a reduction in suicides and removal of stigma surrounding mental illness.

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity Sane, said depression was a “complex and challenging� condition with a range of symptoms.

“It is not surprising that with such a wide range of symptoms, identification varies from one doctor to another,� she said.

It is thought that one in five adults is thought to suffer depression during their life.


Share this page


There are no comments for this article, be the first to comment!

Post your comment

Only registered users can comment. Fill in your e-mail address for quick registration.

Your email address:

Your comment will be checked by a Healthcare Today moderator before it is published on the site.

Article Information

Title: Depression 'over-diagnosed'
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 3789
Date Added: 17th Aug 2007


BBC News

Press Watch

Recent Related Articles

Energy drinks ban in the UK


Add to scrapbook
Show Comments
Add comment
Find all related articles


Mayden - Innovative cloud-based web development for the healthcare sector
© Mayden Foundation 2018