By David Gutierrez
June 17, 2010
Antidepressant use more than doubled in the United States between 1996 and 2005, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Columbia and University of Pennsylvania and published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
“Significant increases in antidepressant use were evident across all sociodemographic groups examined, except African Americans,” the researchers wrote. “Not only are more U.S. residents being treated with antidepressants, but also those who are being treated are receiving more antidepressant prescriptions.”
The number of people being treated with antidepressants increased from 13 million in 1996 to 27 million in 2005, rising from 6 percent to 10 percent of the population. More than 164 million antidepressant prescriptions were given out in 2008, generating $9.8 billion for pharmaceutical companies.
Not only selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac have seen rises in use, but also other varieties of antidepressant and psychoactive drugs.
“During this period, individuals treated with antidepressants became more likely to also receive treatment with antipsychotic medications and less likely to undergo psychotherapy,” the researchers wrote.
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