The 9-question survey many doctors use to diagnose depression was actually created by an antidepressant manufacturer

If your doctor suspects you might have depression, there’s a go-to questionnaire they might pull out with nine questions to answer about how you’ve been feeling over the past two weeks.

The questions touch on a range of potential issues, from sleep disturbances, to appetite changes, concentration issues, and your general enjoyment of life.  

Many experts say this tool, called the PHQ-9, was never meant to be a definitive diagnostic test aimed at diagnosing mental health issues. It was designed as a first-ditch screening tool; a conversation starter between doctor and patient.

But for primary care physicians strapped for time in the exam room, it is often used as a stand-in for a more in-depth clinical evaluation — a go-to prescribing tool for antidepressants.

Critics say the issue is that it this tool was developed by Pfizer, shortly after Zoloft came on the market. 

“These forms have a very low criteria for anxiety and depression,” UK-based psychotherapist James Davies, co-founder of the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry, told the Telegraph in 2017. “It’s about getting people in and out of the door in 10 minutes,” often, with a prescription in hand. 

As reporter Olivia Goldhill details in a wide-ranging Stat report out this week, the marketer who first dreamed up the idea for what later became the PHQ-9 — the quick tool that ultimately made many primary care doctors more comfortable prescribing antidepressants from exam rooms worldwide — was a “marketing man” working for Pfizer. Howard Kroplick convinced the company to invest in the pricey research required to develop the now-ubiquitous questionnaire

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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