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Psychiatry's main method to prevent mistaken diagnoses of depression doesn't work: NYU study
Date:2/24/2010

CSC was added to the symptom and duration criteria in the DSM's fourth edition in 1994 (DSM-IV) in the wake of criticism that too many of the listed symptoms loss of appetite, say, or sadness, insomnia, or fatigue were being identified as evidence of major depressive disorder even when they were mild and possibly normal responses to distress arising from such events as the loss of a job, the dissolution of a marriage, or other triggers for sadness, and that such errors might be contributing to the very high reported rates of untreated depression in the American population drawn from epidemiological surveys. Under the 1994 DSM revision, in addition to the two weeks of sadness and other depressive symptoms, a specified minimal "clinically significant" threshold in the form of harm due to distress or role impairment (in occupational, family, or interpersonal contexts) must have resulted from the symptoms in evidence before they could be considered signs of depression. Researchers have subsequently assumed without definitive evidence that the CSC eliminates substantial numbers of false positives.

In a 1999 article in American Journal of Psychiatry, Wakefield and co-author Robert Spitzer, the originator of the modern DSM symptom-based approach to diagnosis, argued that the CSC would not eliminate false-positive diagnoses of major depression because anyone having the specified symptoms even an individual experiencing a normal intense reaction to loss would be likely to experience distress or role impairment. Thus, they asserted, the CSC was redundant with the symptom criteria and could not distinguish normal from disordered symptomsa claim that has come to be known as the "redundancy hypothesis." The researchers' argument was purely conceptual, and largely ignored.

The issue of whether the redundancy hypothesis is correct became suddenly more important after Wakefield senior-authored a much-discussed 2007 article in Archives of General Psych
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Contact: robert polner
robert.polner@nyu.edu
212-998-2337
New York University
Source:Eurekalert

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