It’s not exactly news that Americans are taking more antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, often via prescriptions from their primary care physician.
But a new study released last week puts some surprising numbers to the trend and offers some insight into the whys and wheres. The report from Medco Health Solutions, a pharmacy benefits management company, is called America’s State of Mind.
Between 2001 and 2010, analysts say, the use of mental health-related medications among the insured population jumped 22%. One in five adult Americans took a drug in 2010 to treat depression, anxiety or ADHD, the report says.
That breaks down to 15% of men and 25% of women. Women ages 45 and up showed the greatest increase in use over the decade — up 43%.
More adult women use mental health-related pharmaceuticals than men. But in children and adolescents it’s just the opposite. Boys are using them at a higher rate although the use among girls is increasing at a faster rate.
Researchers also broke down the useage by state and region. By far the region with the highest useage of antidepressants and other mental health medication was the Central-South (Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississipp and Alabama). The researchers speculated that higher rates of diabetes in this area contributes to the prescription drug use.
The area in which mental health drug useage is lowest is the Great Lakes region of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.
Antidepressants are the most commonly used mental health medication and women have the highest rates of useage, the study shows. But use among men is rising fast — 28% from 2001 to 2010.
An additional note: As we’ve reported over the past several years in Psychotherapy Finances, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is no longer just a children’s disease. The diagnosis is now widepsread among adults, and women in particular.
Women ages 20-44 show the highest useage rate (2%), but that’s up 264% since 2001.
The complete report can be downloaded from the Medco website.