Antidepressant Use Among Americans Up 400 Percent
Antidepressant use among Americans 12 and older has climbed to 11 percent, in a spike of over 400 percent over the last two decades, a report released Wednesday found.
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination, which surveyed 12,000 Americans between 2005 and 2008, showed antidepressants were the most commonly taken drug among people ages 18 to 44, and the third most common overall.
Dr. Tolu Olupona, assistant clinical professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Mount Sinai Hospital Adolescent Health Center in New York City, told HealthDay that it was a concern that only about one-third of those taking antidepressants had seen a mental health professional in the past year.
"These medications can be effective for treatment of depression, anxiety disorders and some other disorders, but it is best when the patients receive careful follow-up to manage efficacy, drug-drug interactions, side effects, medication compliance and a host of other medication management issues," explained Olupona. Reuters reported that many patients obtain their prescriptions from their regular doctor rather than a specialist.
The survey reported whites are more likely than blacks and Hispanics to take the drugs, and that women are 2-1/2 times more likely than men to take them. People ages 40 and older are more likely to take them than those who are younger.
Additionally, more than 60 percent of Americans on antidepressants reported taking them for 2 years or more, with about 14 percent saying they'd taken them for 10 years or more.
Even 8 percent of Americans who did not have depression took antidepressants, and HealthDay reported that the drugs are used to combat other ailments such as anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and eating disorders.