Anti-depressive medications are used to treat or relieve mood disorders and other behavioral and emotional disorders which can be defined by depressive symptoms. Psych (psychiatric) medications are specially prescribed for persons suffering from different levels of mental challenges, ranging from mild to profound. The use of both types of medication is geared towards ensuring healthy mental condition in the affected individuals. According to Medco data, anti-depressants are the most commonly and widely used medications for mental health in the United States.
The most commonly used class of anti-depressants in the US is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs is a class of medications that includes drugs like Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Lexapro (escitalopram) and Paxil (paroxetine). Other popular drugs that are rarely used for the same medication are serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). SNRIs are a good alternative to the SSRIs. This class of medications has drugs such as Cymbalta (duloxetine) and Effexor (venlafaxine).
A new study based on the analysis of 2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey found that at least 1 in every 6 adults in the U.S. reported to be using a psychiatric drug such as a sedative or an anti-depressant. This was an increase from the 2011 government’s report which stated that only 1 individual out of 10 in the U.S. was using medications meant to relieve emotional, nervous and mental problems in America. However, this study did not report clearly on the specific type of medication that was being used by these individuals.
Research by Mattison and Moore found that in 2013, almost 17 percent of all adults in the U.S. filled at least one psychiatric drug prescription. The most common form of psychiatric medication found in the survey was antidepressants, with 12% adults reporting to have filled prescriptions for this type of drugs. In addition, 8.3 % of the adults who filled these drugs reported using a group of drugs that included hypnotics, anti-anxiety drugs and sedatives, while 1.6 % of adults were given prescriptions to use anti-psychotics.
Different reports in the U.S. show significant variation in the use of psychiatric and anti-depressive medication across gender, race and age. For instance, statistics show that the rate of utilization in women is higher men’s. This indicates that depression is more prevalent in older women than younger ones in the U.S. Further statistics show that 21 % of white adults reported to be taking ant-psych drugs while barely 9% of the Hispanic adults reported to be taking the similar types of medications.
Researchers also found out that almost one quarter of adults aged between 65 to 85 years old in the states were using anti-depressant and psychiatric medications. This is a larger population among older adults as compared to less than 10% of the female population aged between 18 to 39 years taking similar drugs in the U.S.
In terms of gender, the total number of women taking anti-depressive medications is almost twice that of men, i.e. 21% vs 12%.
In a nutshell, anti-depressive and psychiatric medications are widely used in the U.S. to treat mental and emotional disorders. The rate at which women use these drugs is higher than the rate at which men use them. They are mostly used among older women than younger women. Most commonly used class of drugs for this purpose includes selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), although they are at times substituted by serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Statistics depict an increase in the rate at which psychiatric medications are being used in the U.S. Considering that these medications have associated risks, there is urgent need to educate the public on these risks and find an alternative solution to the increasing number of population using anti-depressive and psych medications.