Antidepressant Prescriptions Double in a Decade

Research published in the Archives of General Psychiatry indicates that antidepressant prescriptions doubled between 1996 and 2005. The researchers surveyed 50,000 children and adults to arrive at this conclusion. As of 2005, 27 million Americans were taking antidepressant medications. To put it into perspective, this approaches the population of Canada and is about half the population of the UK.

In addition, research indicates that 75% of the people taking antidepressants are not clinically depressed. Over the years, physicians have been using antidepressants “off-label” to treat a host of other problems in living including anxiety, post-menstrual syndrome, and fibromyalgia. The study also found that 80% of the prescriptions are written by general practitioners rather than psychiatrists and that the percentage of people receiving psychotherapy fell from 31.5 to 20 percent during the period studied.

The trend toward increasing prescriptions has not diminished since 2005. Surveys in the UK indicate that there has been a 24% increase in antidepressant prescriptions between 2003 and 2008. Researchers in the UK believe that the increase over the past two years is linked to the economic recession.

You can read more about this study here.

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