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Fear of being prescribed antidepressant drugs keeps many people from talking to their doctor about their depression symptoms. A new survey of more than 1000 California adults led by University of California, Davis researchers found that 43% hesitated to tell their doctors about their depression.
The number one concern was the possiblity that the doc would prescribe antidepressants. This concern was named by 23% of the respondents.
"Many adults subscribe to beliefs likely to inhibit explicit requests for help from thier primary care physician during a depressive episode," wrote Robert Bell in the Annals of Family Medicine. "Interventions should be developed to encourage patients to disclose their depression symptoms and physicians to ask about depression."
Another 16% of people who took the survey said they didn't think it was the family doctor's job to deal with their emotional issues. They also worried their employer might find out.
"This study raises interesting issues that have not really been addressed before," said David Hellerstein, of the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University Medical Center. "On one level, it doesn't make sense. If you have depression, why would you worry about getting a treatment that's effective?"
Respondents cited side effects as a dominant concern. These might include constipation, headaches, dizziness, sleep problems and weight gain.
Most people were not concerned about "talk therapy". Only 14% cited fears of a counseling referral as a reason not to talk to their doctor.
"Ironically, those 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," concluded Bell.
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