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March 11, 1974

Antidepressant Medications: A More Effective Use by General Practitioners, Family Physicians, Internists, and Others

Author Affiliations

From the Director, Research Center, Rockland State Hospital, Orangeburg, NY.

JAMA. 1974;227(10):1158-1160. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230230034019

DEPRESSION is the most undertreated of all major diseases. Were pneumonia, diabetes, or any other important disease entity so often undiagnosed and so often untreated, the courts would justifiably be filled with patients suing for medical malpractice. The discrepancy between the availability of treatment for depression and the actual providing of treatment is so great as to constitute a scandal. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a recent survey estimates that in any given year 15% of adults between the ages of 18 and 74 years may suffer serious depressive symptoms. This represents approximately 20 million individuals. It is not possible to secure figures for an unduplicated count, but NIMH estimates that in 1971 about 615,000 individuals (less than 5% of those in need of treatment) were resident in or admitted to psychiatric treatment facilities of one kind or another. This represents only a small portion of