Friday, January 15, 2010

Mental Health: Deficiencies in Treatment of Depression

January 12, 2010

Mental Health: Deficiencies in Treatment of Depression

Researchers reported last week that antidepressant drugs seemed to be effective mainly in people with severe depression, not those with milder forms. Now another study is reporting that only about half of all Americans with depression receive treatment of any kind.

Moreover, only 1 in 5 are getting care — talk therapy, medication or both — that conforms to American Psychiatric Association guidelines, according to the study, which appears in the January issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

The findings were based on nationally representative surveys of 15,762 adults from February 2001 to November 2003.

Over all, more patients used talk therapy (44 percent) than drug therapy (33 percent). Mexican-Americans and African-Americans were less likely than other groups to receive treatment of any kind.

“For minorities especially, psychotherapy may be more acceptable than antidepressants,” said the lead author of the study, Hector M. Gonz├ílez, assistant professor of family medicine and public health at Wayne State University in Detroit. “The take-home message is that maybe we should be trying to reach out to these particular minorities more with psychotherapy.”

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