Use of Antidepressants on the Rise in the US

November 12, 2012

Use of Antidepressants on the Rise in the US

Four Fold Rise in Antidepressant Prescriptions Since 1988

A new federal report states that of all the people in the U.S. aged twelve or over, about 11% of them take antidepressants. The report also identified that many of the patients had not seen a mental health professional within the last year either.

The report was produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). By comparing earlier statistics it has identified that antidepressant usage in the U.S. has grown by 400% since 1988.

Antidepressant Users

The study identified that the most common age group using antidepressants was the 18 to 44 year old group and the most common reason for taking them was as a treatment for depression, but they were also used to help with anxiety.

Although taking antidepressants, only about 66% of the patients had actually seen a mental health professional within the last year. And less than 50% of those patients using several different antidepressants had visited a mental health expert within the previous twelve months.

Antidepressants were the third most prescribed drug in the U.S. from 2005 until 2008, however about 8% of people taking them were found to have no depressive symptoms.

Long term usage of antidepressants identified that 60% of Americans had been taking them for two years or more. A group of around 14% had been taking them for more than 10 years.

Other findings identified were that whites were the most likely to be using antidepressants, followed by African Americans and then Hispanic Americans, with women being much more likely to be taking them than men. Approximately 40% of women take antidepressants compared to about 20% of men whenever either group has depressive symptoms.

The report cited that more than 33% of the females who showed signs of moderate depression, and less than 20% of males with the same symptoms took anti depressants. It was also seen that in females antidepressant usage was far more common. Women being almost 3 times more predisposed to be an antidepressant user. This factor changed when the ages of users was between 12 and 17. In this case no difference was seen in usage habits.

The highest user group was women between 40 and 59, and older people, aged 40 and over, of either sex were more likely to be taking antidepressants than those in the younger groups.

Researchers point out that if someone has mental health issues then they must have treatment. They recommend that treatment availability must be increased, both for children and adults.


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