U.S. Antidepressant Use Jumps 65 Percent in 15 Years

U.S. Antidepressant Use Jumps 65 Percent in 15 Years

There has been a huge jump in antidepressant use in the United States over the last fifteen years. Women are more likely to use them, as are whites versus blacks, hispanics and asians. Cultural differences are a likely reason for this, particularly for minority men. Whites also tend to have greater access to psychiatric services than minority groups. Erectile dysfunction is another reason men are less likely to use these medications. The stigma associated with ED may be greater than the relief an antidepressant may give.

Another reason for the growing use is that the stigma attached to mental illness is receding.

Strangely, social media use seems to play a role in the increased use. While on the surface, social media would seem to bring people closer together, it actually has the reverse effect causing people to become more isolated. Rather than interacting in person, we sit at our computers and “talk” with our friends and families.

Another issue is the length of time people stay on these medications. While they are appropriate for long term depression, some people start taking them and never stop whether the long term use is appropriate or not. Yearly evaluations are recommended for patients using antidepressants.

Key Points:

  • 1Women are twice as likely as men to use antidepressants.
  • 2Whites are more likely to use antidepressants than blacks, Hispanics, and Asians.
  • 3There are several theories about the rise in the use of antidepressants, including a lessening of the stigma associated with their use, and the tendency of people to look to pills to help them.

By 2014, about one in every eight Americans over the age of 12 reported recent antidepressant use, according to a report released Tuesday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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