Dhruv Khullar on overdiagnosis

Helen Haskell haskell.helen at GMAIL.COM
Wed Nov 14 16:01:20 UTC 2018


"A central problem is that medicalized diagnoses often come with
medicalized treatments: Our penchant for pills outstrips even our desire
for diagnosis. Since the 1990s, the number of office visits for sleep
problems has doubled, and diagnoses of insomnia have increased sevenfold.
But prescriptions for sleep medications have increased more than 30 times.

This is perhaps most concerning for children. About 12 percent of children
in America now carry a diagnosis of A.D.H.D, and there was a 40-fold
increase in childhood bipolar disorder diagnoses between 1994 and 2003.
Five times as many children are now prescribed psychostimulant and
antipsychotic medications as were in the 1980s. Today, a quarter of
children and teenagers take prescription drugs regularly, and seven percent
of older adolescents and young adults report abusing opioids — most of whom
were initially prescribed them by a doctor."

Also Lown:

"More newly recognized diagnoses is not inherently a good or bad thing. But
we need to look deeper at this pattern – who is creating these diagnoses,
who they are affecting, and how they are treated – to better understand how
some diagnoses can be helpful and others harmful."

Moderator: David Meyers, Board Member, Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine

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