The research problem investigated in this study is the treatment of adult depression in the United States. This problem is prompted by the fact that although the United States has been observing an increase in the use of antidepressants recently, there are still many adults with depression who do not receive suitable treatment or receive therapy that does not correspond to their condition. The statistics provide evidence that in 1999-2002, 7.7 percent of Americans older than 12 were using antidepressants, while in 2011-2014, this figure increased to 12.7 percent (Pratt, Brody, & Gu, 2017). Nevertheless, earlier studies discovered that almost one-half of adults diagnosed with major depressive disorder did not receive any treatment (Olfson, Blanco, & Marcus, 2016).
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The research questions for this study are:
- To what extent adults with depression in the United States receive depression care?
- To which extent the care provided for patients with depression match the severity of their illness?
The main point is that depression care in the United States is not organized appropriately. The objective of this study is to characterize the treatment of adult depression in the United States. It is prompted by the findings of earlier studies, which discover the lack of efficient depression care.
Evaluation of the Research Methods
The authors do not provide a literature review as a separate section of the article. Nevertheless, they analyze earlier investigations related to the topic in the introduction and use these findings as a background for their study. The literature they use is relevant to the problem of research under consideration.
The research was published in 2016 and is current. Moreover, it is relevant to contemporary health issues that are important today because depression is one of the burning problems in the United States. This mental disorder is a cause of suicides among adults and thus needs further investigation to support interventions aimed at its depression treatment and prevention.
The authors utilize a non-experimental type of research. It uses data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The participants of these surveys are individuals living in US households and were aged 18 years or more when responding to surveys in 2012 and 2013.
There were two annual samples according to the recommendations of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to increase the sample size. The sample consists of 46,417 responses to the surveys. The article does not provide detailed demographics of the research sample, but there is information that it included representatives of different ethnic minorities aged 18 and older as well as individuals with diverse incomes.
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The sample is appropriate for this research because the authors aim to characterize the treatment of depression in the United States on the whole, and thus a big sample is necessary to contribute to the reliability of findings. Moreover, the sample of more than 46 thousand people allows including diverse individuals and thus involves representatives of many populations, which means that research results can be generalized and used to the whole population of the country.
The researchers do not provide any ideas for the practical application of their study. Still, the findings of this work can have certain practical value. First of all, it provided data for future studies dedicated to the problem of depression care. Also, estimation of depression treatment among the adult population can be used for the development of practical guidelines to improve the situation with depression care.
The study revealed that the lowest rate of depression treatment was observed among uninsured individuals as well as racial and ethnic minorities. These findings prompt the need for practical solutions aimed at the reduction of such care disparities. The findings related to treatment modalities can be utilized by practicing mental health professionals to improve the rate of treatment appropriateness to patients’ condition. The results related to health care professionals involved in the treatment of depression can be used by health care authorities to analyze and address the problem of the lack of mental health specialists.
This study could have been improved in case it included some practical recommendations about the applicability of research findings. This investigation includes diverse aspects of depression treatment, and recommendations could have been useful for health care professionals. Finally, recommendations would determine the direction of further research on this problem.
The writing of the article is clear and straightforward. The basic concepts are explained, and the course of research is stated. The researchers provide a detailed background for the investigated problem. The analysis of findings is distinct and supported by statistical data. Findings presented in the discussion section are related to earlier studies on the problem of this study, thus focusing on the value of research both for mental health research and practice.
The subject discusses in the article can be used in further research because the problem of depression is current and is not likely to be eliminated during the following decades. Despite active research in the field of mental health, there are still many gaps related to depressive disorders. This fact can be explained by the diversity of forms that depression takes and the necessity for individualized approaches to patient care. Consequently, depression and its treatment is a fruitful field for further research. Also, a similar study can be conducted based on the data of more recent surveys to reveal the tendencies in the contemporary depression treatment in the United States.
On the whole, the study under analysis reveals the current condition of depression prevalence and treatment in the United States. It correlates with my knowledge that there are many gaps in depression research and care. Due to a large sample, it can be concluded that research covers diverse population groups, and its results can be generalized and used to talk about the population of the United States on the whole. The authors reveal the following facts that should be addressed by health care authorities.
First of all, there is a need for more precise attention to low-income groups because depression is about five times more prevalent among them. Also, there is a problem with treatment coverage among individuals with screen-positive depression. According to current research, less than one-third of adults with screen-positive depression get any depression treatment. Moreover, there are disparities in depression treatment between insured and uninsured individuals. It is another proof of general healthcare inequality in the country, which we observed in other studies reviewed during the course. Another issue to consider is the diversity of treatment modalities utilized by survey respondents.
Depressants are defined as the most prevalent treatment option, while psychotherapy, which is also usually considered to be effective for depression, is used by less than one-quarter of patients. Finally, the problem of inefficient depression treatment can be explained by the lack of mental health professionals on the whole and psychiatrists in particular. Summarizing, a conclusion can be made that the study under analysis contributes to depression treatment research, and its findings can be used both as the background for future studies and development of practical guidelines related to the problem of depression in the United States.
Olfson, M., Blanco, C., & Marcus, S. C. (2016). Treatment of adult depression in the United States. JAMA International Medicine, 176(10), 1482-1491. Web.
Pratt, L. A., Brody, D. J., & Gu, Q. (2017). Antidepressant use among persons aged 12 and over: United States, 2011-2014. NCHS Data Brief, 283, 1-8. Web.