Why your doc thinks you’re depressed

Not depressed? Wrong!

Your doc says you are. He might even insist you're so deep in the dumps that there's only one way to dig yourself out.

And that's meds.

That doesn't just FEEL wrong. There's a good chance it IS wrong -- because it turns out one of the main tools docs use to diagnose depression isn't an objective scientific test.

It's a questionnaire cooked up by a greedy drug company trying to sell antidepressants!

The Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry is warning family practice docs -- including internists and other "general practitioners" -- that the supposedly handy PHQ-9 Patient Health Questionnaire they're relying on is little more than a marketing device from Pfizer.

And, like any marketing device, it was designed to make sales.

From that point of view, this short, nine-question quiz has done the job spectacularly. You won't believe how easy it is to end up with at least a mild depression diagnosis, especially if you're a little older.

Yet many of the questions don't even ask about mood... but instead focus on problems with sleep, appetite, and energy levels.

While these problems certainly CAN be signs of depression, they're just as often symptoms of OTHER conditions.

The survey doesn't get into any of THOSE.

Instead, if you have serious problems with sleep, appetite, and energy for two weeks, you'll be diagnosed with moderate depression, just based on those three answers alone.

There are still six more questions to go!

Those sleep and energy problems could cause you to have difficulty concentrating and even make you lose interest in getting out and doing stuff.

But if you have those two other symptoms in addition to the first three, you now could have "moderately severe depression," and you haven't even answered a single question about your mood yet!

The other four questions do get into that.

Overall, the results could actually indicate real depression, to be sure. They could just as easily indicate some other problem.

But your doc can't tell. He's not trained to spot the differences.

All he knows is that this handy tool says you're depressed, and that means you could be walking out of his office with a prescription for happy pills.

Don't fall for this swindle.

The Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry is urging docs to back away from this tool, and I couldn't agree more.

But let's go a little further here, because if you have those problems and you're NOT depressed, you certainly DON'T need antidepressants. But you DO need help, and not just because these conditions can make you miserable.

They're often warning signs of hormonal imbalances, poor nutrition, and even adrenal fatigue.

Work closely with a holistic medical doctor who can test you for these conditions and more, and help work with you on the best drug-free therapies whether you have depression or something else entirely.

If you're in the San Diego area, I can help. Make an appointment to see me here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.

Not in the area? I'm also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.

And don't forget to connect with me on Facebook!