Science/Tech
10:43 am
Tue June 2, 2009

Warning on antidepressants has been followed by decline in diagnoses

CHICAGO (AP) – CHICAGO (AP) - Researchers are finding a persistent decline in the rate of Americans -- especially children -- who are newly diagnosed with depression. But that doesn't mean there are fewer cases of it.

The decline followed the first federal warning on risks connected with antidepressant drugs. And the researchers believe that the warning may have helped reverse a five-year trend of rising rates of diagnosis for depression.

It was already known that antidepressant use among young people had fallen since the drugs began carrying a so-called "black box" warning about risks. What's new are the numbers showing an extended decline in the level of depression diagnoses.

The main author says it could be that people with depression are becoming less likely to come forward. Or, she says, providers may not be as willing to diagnose cases of new mental health problems.

The findings appear in the Archives of General Psychiatry.