Many emerging illnesses, before they have gained acceptance by the medical community, have initially been discounted as being hysteria, depression, etc. Before the hepatitis C virus was identified in 1989, many of its symptoms were correlated to depression, and many un-read physicians today still believe that HCV is normally asymptomatic.
Another issue is that HCV patients can get “secondary depression” if their lives have been disrupted because their illness has interfered with their job or their social or family life. This indirect consequence of the illness may be taken by some medical professionals as indicating a cause rather than an effect of the observed symptoms. An article in Hepatology, June 2000, p. 1207-1211, Vol. 31, No. 6, “Hepatitis C, Interferon Alfa, and Depression,” the authors note that “two separate lines of evidence support an association between HCV and depression. First, patients with psychiatric disorders have a higher prevalence of HCV infection. Second, patients with chronic hepatitis C may have a higher prevalence of psychiatric disorders including depression.”