Psychiatrists' and primary care physicians' beliefs about overtreatment of depression and anxiety.
Critics say that physicians overdiagnose and overtreat depression and anxiety. We surveyed 1504 primary care physicians (PCPs) and 512 psychiatrists, measuring beliefs about overtreatment of depression and anxiety and predictions of whether persons would benefit from taking medication, investing in relationships, and investing in spiritual life. A total of 63% of PCPs and 64% of psychiatrists responded. Most agreed that physicians too often treat normal sadness as a medical illness (67% of PCPs and 62% of psychiatrists) and too often treat normal worry and stress as a medical illness (59% of PCPs, 55% of psychiatrists). Physicians who agreed were less likely to believe that depressed or anxious people would benefit "a lot" from taking an antidepressant (36% vs. 58% of PCPs) or antianxiety medication (25% vs. 42% of PCPs, 42% vs. 57% of psychiatrists). Most PCPs and psychiatrists believe that physicians too often treat normal sadness and worry as a medical illness.
Lawrence, RE; Rasinski, KA; Yoon, JD; Curlin, FA
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