Professor Ian Hickie from the University’s Brain and Mind Research Institute argues that if increased diagnosis and treatment has actually led to demonstrable benefits and is cost effective, then it is not yet being over diagnosed.

He says increased diagnosis and treatment has led to a reduction in suicides and increased productivity in the population.

On the other side of the debate Professor Gordon Parker, a psychiatrist from the University of New South Wales says the current threshold for what is considered to be ‘clinical depression’ is too low. He fears it could lead to a diagnosis of depression becoming less credible.

It is, he says, normal to be depressed and points to his own cohort study which followed 242 teachers. Fifteen years into the study, 79 per cent of respondents had already met the symptom and duration criteria for major, minor or sub-syndromal depression.

He blames the over-diagnosis of clinical depression on a change in its categorisation, introduced in 1980.

Source: University of Sydney