Antidepressants and Fear: Reluctance Hampering Treatment, Docs Say
Depression will often manifest in ways that can conceal a crushing chemical imbalance in the brain as difficulty coping with life, job stress, relationship anxiety or other common life stressors- stressors which often bring on or exacerbate a bout of depression.
A new study reports that patients may be reluctant to treat the condition as well, hiding symptoms when talking to doctors- mainly out of fear of being prescribed an antidepressant. The study encompassed a pool of 1,000 adults in California- 43% of which reported a hesitancy to report symptoms of depression to their primary care physician.
While it seems the study’s results might be something doctors and psychiatric professionals are aware of, the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University Medical Center’s Dr. David Hellerstein says that the research raises “interesting issues that have not really been addressed before.” Previous studies have centered largely on doctors and their tendency to probe patients for antidepressant needs, and professionals believe the new information can be helpful in clueing doctors in to patient attitudes about antidepressants.
Twenty-three percent of those surveyed indicated concern that their doctor would prescribe an antidepressant, while another 16 percent believed their PCP should not have to “deal with emotional issues.” Some participants confessed a fear that a third party, such as their workplace, could be made aware of the diagnosis.
Nearly 60% of patients who are placed on an antidepressant report rapid ease of symptoms, and researchers also discovered that the participants experiencing moderate to severe depression were most likely to be reluctant to seek treatment. Researchers wrote:
“Ironically…those who most subscribed to potential reasons for not talking to a primary care physician about their depression tended to be those who had the greatest potential to benefit from such conversations.”