Franklin James Cook

Anti-Depressant Use Doubles; Joint Psychotherapy Decreases

In Mental Illness, Research on August 3, 2009 at 11:16 pm

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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  1. My 35 year old son committed suicide on July 4, 2009. Since that time, I have obtained his medical records. He was prescribed Celexa for an anxiety disorder in November, 2008. He had an undesirable side affect that may or may not have been due to Celexa since he was also on Lisinopril at the time. However,he was switched to Paxil on May 26, 2009.
    My son exhibited behavioral changes that now make sense to me but unfortunately too late. I was trying to help someone I loved without all the facts. My son and I had one conversation over the phone about his starting anti-anxiety medication. He told me that he was going to start taking Paxil. I told him that people have committed suicide taking this medication. During the following months, I noticed behavioral changes in my son but had forgotten that he was prescribed medications because of other family issues going on at the time. I didn’t relate his conversations asking me “what is the point of life” and “why do we have to suffer” to the medication use. He didn’t talk much about his medications. I could go on and on about what happened. But after reading his medical records, he could probably have overcome his difficulties with a counsellor (which my other son did do for his anxiety disorder and he is alive). Also another important issue to this is the need for family involvement. Single adult chilcren should not be being prescribed medications like this without another person knowing about it. I would have been so much better prepared to help my son if I would have been informed with him in a professional setting. His loss has been an agony for our family.

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