A psychiatrist, writing in the British Medical Journal, has lashed out at what he claims is the medicalization of normal human distress. Professor Gordon Parker, a psychiatrist from Australia, says the current threshold for what is considered to be “clinical depression” is too low. He fears it could lead to a diagnosis of depression becoming less credible.
It is, he says, normal to be depressed and points to his own cohort study which followed 242 teachers. Fifteen years into the study, 79 percent of respondents had already met the symptom and duration criteria for major and minor depression.
He blames the over-diagnosis of clinical depression on a change in its categorization. This saw the condition split into “major” and “minor” disorders. He says the simplicity and gravitas of “major depression” gave it cachet with clinicians while its descriptive profile set a low threshold.