Sunday, October 23, 2011

News Brief: More Than One in Ten Americans Take an Antidepressent

Shayna Schor

In the past two decades, the use of antidepressant drugs has increased by a dramatic near 400% in the United States. In a report covering almost 13,000 participants in NHANES surveys, it was estimated that over 11% of Americans age 12 and older take antidepressants. Of this statistic, less than 33% have consulted a mental health professional in the past twelve months; 3 out of 4 prescriptions come from skilled professionals other than psychiatrists, and upwards of 6% of those using antidepressants have no medical illness diagnosis whatsoever. In stark contrast, 2 out of 3 individuals who do exhibit highly depressive symptoms are not currently taking antidepressants. Although income level seems not to be a factor in rates of antidepressant use, women and whites seem more likely to take these drugs than their male and non-white counterparts: only 1 in 5 men with severe depressive symptoms are reportedly taking these drugs, whereas 23% of women aged 40 to 59 use antidepressants. It is advised that individuals seeking antidepressants visit psychiatrists or other mental-health professionals before doing so, and that patients begin with a single prescription rather than a combination of antidepressant drugs to treat their symptoms.

Reference: Hobson, Katherine. "More Than One in Ten Americans Take an Antidepressant" The Wall Street Journal Health Blog. Web. Oct 19 2011.
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