Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

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Overdiagnosed depression?

Did you know the majority of women in their 40s and 50s are taking a prescription antidepressant? And one in 10 American adults, overall, are doing so.

A recent study concluded the numbers are not due to the fact that more of us are depressed. Instead, according to that study in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, depression is being overdiagnosed in droves.

Of the sample of 5,000 patients in the study who had been diagnosed with depression, almost two-thirds did not meet the diagnostic criteria for major depression. Other studies have found frequent inaccurate diagnoses for depression in primary care offices.

For many people, talk therapy can be effective when grief, anxiety, sadness, or other difficult emotions strike, the study’s authors said, but researchers who conducted the study said patients might be simply demanding the seemingly “quick fix” of medication. In clinics and primary care offices, they said, “there is a need for improved targeting of diagnosis and treatments of depression and other mental disorders in these settings.”