Overdiagnosis: it’s official

Within the field of mental healthcare there has long been massive over-diagnosis of mental illness (not to mention shaky scientific justification for many of the diagnostic labels applied). Hence the relevance of this article (published in the British Medical Journal – BMJ) by Steven Woloshin and Barnett Kramer.

The article begins:

“Recently the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) unveiled new terms to be included in the medical subject headings (MeSH) vocabulary used to index, catalogue, and search journal articles, books, and other biomedical and health related information.1

One of the new terms is overdiagnosis

“The labeling of a person with a disease or abnormal condition that would not have caused the person harm if left undiscovered, creating new diagnoses by medicalizing ordinary life experiences, or expanding existing diagnoses by lowering thresholds or widening criteria without evidence of improved outcomes. Individuals derive no clinical benefit from overdiagnosis, although they may experience physical, psychological, or financial harm.”2

Why is this a big deal

At the core of advancement in any scientific field, including the study of disease overdiagnosis, is the ability to build on the existing knowledge base. That demands tools to facilitate systematic assessment of that knowledge. The MeSH taxonomy was developed as a key tool to meet that need …”

You can read more from here.

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