According to an article in USA Today by reporter Liz Szabo, “the number of Americans using antidepressants doubled in only a decade, while the number seeing psychiatrists continued to fall.” The article is based on a “study of nearly 50,000 children and adults,” which appears in the current issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.
According to the USA Today report,
About 10% of Americans — or 27 million people — were taking antidepressants in 2005, the last year for which data were available at the time the study was written. That’s about twice the number in 1996 … Yet the majority weren’t being treated for depression. Half of those taking antidepressants used them for back pain, nerve pain, fatigue, sleep difficulties, or other problems, the study says.
Among users of antidepressants, the percentage receiving psychotherapy fell from 31.5% to less than 20%, the study says. About 80% of patients were treated by doctors other than psychiatrists …
Olfson says his study shows that doctors need more training in mental health. And he says he’s concerned about the decline in patients receiving psychotherapy. Patients who receive only medication may not get the help they need, he says.
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