Number Of Americans Taking Antidepressants Surges Has Raised Dramatically
The National Center for Health Statistics, an arm of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has published an announcement on its web site highlighting the fact that the number of Americans 12 years of age or older taking antidepressants has skyrocketed in recent years.
Based on the information given, the number of Americans 12 and older taking antidepressants now comprises fully 11% of the total population of the United States, which amounts to some 34 million people.
And that’s not all, antidepressants, the most commonly prescribed medication in the country for people aged 18 to 44, are given more often to women than men, and far more often to white people than any other race. Also, 60% of those taking antidepressants have done so for at least two years, and 14% for ten years or longer.
Unfortunately, despite the high numbers, the Institute estimates that only about a third of those people who suffer from clinical depression take antidepressants, due to financial constraints, or because of other mental or physical ailments that prevent them from receiving treatment.
The Institute also noted that from 1988 to 2008 the number of people taking antidepressants had jumped nearly 400%, which they say has more to do with advances in medicine (fewer side effects) than increasing numbers of depression sufferers. Also it was noted that a lot of people take antidepressants that don’t actually have depression for such ailments as symptoms of menopause.
Antidepressants are psychiatric medications generally prescribed by psychiatrists, though sometimes they can be described by other doctors as well. They are usually prescribed to offer patients who suffer mood disorders relief. Mood disorders range from depression to dysthymia to social anxiety disorder and can be prescribed for either temporary or chronic conditions. Though as the report highlights, quite often when antidepressants are prescribed for transient conditions such as postpartum depression, patients continue taking them, which brings up one statistic noticeably absent from the report and that is the number of people taking antidepressants who don’t technically need them.
The report also highlights the growing trend among the population as a whole to turn to medications to solve problems that were once considered something people should deal with in other ways. The growing trend to treat children with ADHD drugs for example has come under increased scrutiny due to the concerns of many that such medications are being prescribed to help parents deal with children, rather than as a prescription for an actual disorder.