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Numerous Patients Receiving Psychotropic Drugs without Clinical Diagnosis

Destiny Baker3 years ago

A recent study cited by Medscape suggests that the majority of Americans prescribed psychotropic medications have not been clinically diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder.

Doctor Notices Patients are Lacking Proper Diagnosis Documentation

  • The study published in Psychiatry Services observed the number of patients prescribed psychotropic medications as compared to the number of patients who have been properly diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder.
  • Dr. Ilse Wiechers of Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut began the study after having a number of patients on psychotropic prescriptions without documents indicating the need for the medication.
  • Further, when asked, many of Dr. Wiechers patients could not tell her why they had been prescribed the medications they were receiving.

Findings of the Psychotropic Medication Study

“The #1 takeaway is that a large majority of outpatients, proportionately larger among older outpatients, are being prescribed psychotropic medications in the absence of a clear indication for such use.” – Ilse Wiechers, MD, Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut as published by Medscape

  • The study analyzed data from MarketScan, and looked at 5,132,789 adult patients who were prescribed at least one psychotropic medication in 2009.
  • Data was the organized into categories of age, type of drug received and type of mental healthcare received.
  • The study found that the majority (58.2%) of patients receiving psychotropic medications had received no previous psychiatric diagnosis or proper indictation that the prescription was necessary.
  • A proper clinical diagnosis is urged as, according to GoodThreapy, psychotropic drugs carry severe side effects including:

    • Emotional Numbness
    • Mood Swings 
    • Insomnia
    • Parkinsonism
    • Death
Categorical Findings of the Psychotropic Medication Study
  • The study determined that 69% of patients between 50 and 60 years of age observed were prescribed psychotropic medication without diagnosis.
  • More alarming, 67% of all prescriptions without diagnosis were written to patients who had received no specialized mental healthcare meaning they were diagnoses in a primary care or general medical setting.
  • Of the six categorize of psychotropic drugs observed:

    • 61% of benzodiazepines prescriptions were filled without diagnosis
    • 58% of mood stabilizers prescriptions were filled without diagnosis
    • 52% of anti-depressants prescriptions were filled without diagnosis
    • 31% of antipsychotics prescriptions were filled without diagnosis
    • 26% of stimulants prescriptions were filled without diagnosis
    • 12% of lithium prescriptions were filled without diagnosis
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