Use of antidepressants soaring in United States
WASHINGTON -- Antidepressants apparently keep a lot of people functional, according to new data from the federal government.
The most recent statistics about antidepressant use in the United States, released yesterday, show 11 percent of Americans ages 12 or older take the medication. Antidepressants are the most common prescription drug used by people ages 18 to 44. Almost one-quarter of all women ages 40 to 59 take antidepressants.
More than 60 percent of those on antidepressants said they had taken them for two years or longer, and 14 percent had used the pills for 10 years or more.
The study found that from 1988 to 1994 and 2005 to 2008, antidepressant use increased nearly 400 percent.
Some people may take antidepressants for reasons other than depression, such as control of menopausal symptoms. But the irony of the data, from the National Center for Health Statistics, is that the people who need antidepressants the most are not getting them. Only about one-third of people with severe depression take antidepressant medication.