Sunday, May 26th, 2019

1 in 6 Americans Are Now on Psychiatric Medication

Published on January 15, 2017 by   ·   No Comments

Psychiatric Medication

Dr. Joseph Mercola/Wake Up World

Recent research shows that American doctors are still over-prescribing many different kinds of drugs,1 especially antibiotics and opioid pain killers, despite repeated calls for prudence. U.S. health care expenses have also risen, hitting $3.2 trillion annually as of 2015, and rising prescription prices combined with over-prescribing are significant drivers of these rising costs, according to a government report.2,3,4,5 While psychiatric drugs were not included in that report, statistics reveal a very clear trend of over-prescribing here as well. According to recent research, 1 in 6 Americans are now on antidepressants or some other type of psychiatric drug, and most appear to be taking them long-term.6,7,8,9,10 That’s quite an extraordinary number, and a significant increase, nearly doubled, from 2011 when 1 in 10 American adults reported using a psychiatric drug.11According to lead author Thomas J. Moore, a researcher at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices:12 “To discover that 8 in 10 adults who have taken psychiatric drugs are using them long term raises safety concerns, given that there’s reason to believe some of this continued use is due to dependence and withdrawal symptoms.” Dr. Mark Olfson, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, commented on the findings saying it reflects a growing reliance on prescription medications to manage common emotional problems. Seniors, Women and Caucasians Use the Most Psychiatric Drugs Among the noteworthy statistics revealed in this latest study, which is based on government survey data from more than 37,400 Americans:

  • Nearly 17 percent of American adults used one or more psychiatric drugs in 2013, up from 10 percent in 2011
  • 12 percent of users are taking antidepressants; 8.3 percent are taking anxiety drugs, sedatives and/or sleeping pills; and 1.6 percent are taking antipsychotics
  • Caucasians are twice as likely to use psychiatric drugs than African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians (20.8 percent were Caucasian, 9 percent African-American and 8.7 percent Hispanic. Only 5 percent of users are Asian)
  • 25 percent of seniors between the ages of 60 and 85 are taking at least one psychiatric drug. This despite the fact that incidence of diagnosable mental problems tends to be lower in seniors than younger adults overall
  • Nearly twice as many women use psychiatric drugs than men (21 percent and 12 percent respectively)

Psychiatric Drugs Are Overprescribed Other recent research shows that anti-anxiety benzodiazepine drugs accounted for nearly one-third of the 23,000 prescription overdoses in 2013. According to researchers, part of the problem appears to be that primary care physicians are under-educated on the risks associated with psychiatric drugs. As reported by Scientific American:13

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