Faltering Economy Blamed for Increase In Antidepressant Drug Use


The struggling economy and record number of layoffs and home foreclosures are some of the most predominant reasons for a notable increase in the use of antidepressant drugs. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that Prozac, Paxil, and similar drug prescriptions have increased by 400%, particularly among women.

The data for the study comes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) which includes information on 12,637 individuals. Participants were asked about prescription drug use including antidepressants, length of use, severity of depression symptoms and contact with a mental health professional.

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Antidepressant drugs are now the most frequently used medication in adults between the ages of 18 to 44. Nearly one in four women between 40 and 59 are taking the medications as are one in 25 teens.

Obviously, financial struggles common in the current economy can have a significant impact on the level of depression symptoms. A separate study, conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, understandably finds that homeowners who are in default or foreclosure exhibit poorer mental health than those with low or no housing strain. Mental health concerns often lead to physical symptoms such as pain, fatigue, headaches, digestive problems, and sleeping difficulties.

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Unfortunately, financial problems often leads to inadequate access to healthcare as well. The CDC study finds that although women are more likely to take antidepressants, they are less likely than men to seek professional help.

Nursing Professor Terri Lipman PhD RN writes in the journal Nursing Outlook that in addition to medical care offered in health care clinics, that administrators also could include financial counseling and social services. “Distressed homeowners whose health is impaired may face particular challenges as they attempt to improve their financial situations,” she says. “Medical care and appropriate counseling may be necessary to enable distressed homeowners to seek, obtain, and sustain employment.”