Nursing

News spotlight: Antidepressant use climbs in the U.S.

Nurse Leader Insider, August 10, 2009

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A growing number of Americans are seeking medication—rather than therapy—to treat depression, according to a recently-released study.

An Archives of General Psychiatry study found antidepressant use has doubled over the past decade. Researchers found about 10% of Americans were using antidepressants in 2005, which is twice the number in 1996. However, the percentage of antidepressant users receiving psychotherapy decreased from 31.5% to less than 20%.

The study, which was conducted among nearly 50,000 children and adults, shows that about 80% of patients were treated by doctors rather than psychiatrists and 50% were taking antidepressants for back and nerve pain, fatigue, and sleep difficulty.

Study author Mark Olfson, MD, MPH, says the findings suggest physicians need more training in mental health and he is concerned about the decline in numbers of patients who also receive psychotherapy, reports USA Today.

Sources:  Archives of General Psychiatry and USA Today



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