CDC: Antidepressant Use Skyrocketed In Past 20 Years

DETROIT (WWJ) – Antidepressant use in America has risen 400 percent since the late 1980s. One out of 10 Americans over the age of 12 now takes antidepressants. The new figures come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Abdallah Zamaria, Chief of Psychiatry at St. John Hospital in Detroit reminds people to seek treatment, not just medication.

“More people have been asking for help and they usually go for the medication first, even though medications are not the only part of the treatment,” Zamaria said.

Zamaria said that working with a psychotherapist and making personal efforts are extremely important.

“Certain things that really help us feel better and recover, for example, are good sleep, exercises, avoiding substance abuse,” he said.

Dr. Zamaria said part of the reason for the increased use in medications is that they are safe. He says another reason people may choose medication over psycho therapy is because they can’t always afford both forms of treatment in these economic times.

The analysis of 2005-2008 data from the U.S. National Health and  Nutrition Examination Surveys also showed that antidepressants are the third most common prescription drug taken by Americans of all ages and the  most frequently used by those aged 18 to 44.

Of people with severe depression, about one-third takes antidepressant  medication. More than 60 percent of Americans taking an antidepressant  drug have taken it for two years or longer and nearly 14 percent have  taken the medication for 10 years or more.

The CDC survey also found that women are two and a half times more likely than men to take antidepressants, possibly because they are more likely to seek treatment.

– Learn how antidepressants work at this link.

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