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The concept of a Prozac nation might not be so far off. According to a new report from Medco, a pharmacy benefit manager, more Americans than ever before are taking medication for their mental health.
“Overall, the number of Americans on medications used to treat psychological and behavioral disorders has substantially increased since 2001,” the report states. “More than 1 in 5 adults was on at least one of these medications in 2010, up 22 percent from 10 years earlier.”
Not surprisingly, women are a highlighted group in this report.
“Women are far more likely to take a drug to treat a mental health condition than men, with more than a quarter of the adult female population on these drugs in 2010 as compared to 15 percent of men,” according to the report.
Older women (45 and older) tend to use mental health medication the most out of any group, the report states. Certain types of mental health medications are more popular with women as well.
“Antidepressants are by far the most commonly utilized, with over 20 percent of women on a drug typically prescribed to treat depression,” according to a news release on www.prnewswire.com. “Anxiety treatments are also widely used by women and at almost twice the rate of men.”
Marcia Sirota, a board-certified psychiatrist, author of the soon-to-be-released book “Emotional Eating: Know the Triggers, Heal Your Mind and Never Diet Again,” and a blogger for the Huffington Post, said in an email that there are a couple possible reasons why women are taking more mental health medication than men.
“I think that more women are taking mental health meds these days because for one thing, the rate of anxiety and depression is higher in women and also, women are more amenable to mental health interventions than men, as a rule,” Sirota said.
She thinks that Americans in general are taking more medication to help with mental health issues due to the dire circumstances surrounding them.
“America is in crisis right now. People are losing their jobs and their homes,” Sirota said. “Young people are coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan with devastating injuries.