By David Mittleman
January 29, 2010
Obesity is an epidemic–or at least a major concern for many Americans. We obsess over diet fads, exercise machines, portion control, and The Biggest Loser, all in an effort to get our ballooning waistlines in check. However, according to some researchers, we are looking in all the wrong places for the reason why we’re so fat. Instead of oversized and calorie-laden fast food meals, at least one expert is starting to wonder if the cause of our nation’s weight gain is prescription psychiatric drugs.
Paula J. Caplan, a clinician and research psychologist at Harvard University, suspects that the seemingly non-serious “side effects” of psychiatric medications are to blame for our weight problems. She argues that the sudden weight gain of many Americans occurred during the same time period that psychiatric drugs picked up in popularity–that is, the average weight of an adult has increased by 25 pounds since 1960 while prescriptions of psychiatric drugs to US adults also increased by 73% between 1996 and 2006 alone. What troubles Caplan even more so is that children aren’t left out of the equation. In fact, over the past two decades the number of obese children has tripled while prescriptions of psychiatric drugs to children from 1996-2006 increased by 50%.