Based on claims filed between 2001 and 2010 for prescription medication, 2.5 million Americans are taking some type of behavioral or mental health drug. This is a 22% increase since 2001, and 20% are them adults who take at least one type of medication for anxiety or depression. These conditions have a negative effect on memory as well as other brain functions.
“Over the past decade, there has been a significant uptick in the use of medications to treat a variety of mental health problems; what is not as clear is if more people – especially women, are actually developing psychological disorders that require treatment, or if they are more willing to seek out help and clinicians are better at diagnosing these conditions than they once were,” said Dr. David Muzina, a psychiatrist and national practice leader of the Medco Neuroscience Therapeutic Resource Center ®. Claims from adult women rose 25%, compared to 15% for men. “Women are generally more frequent users of healthcare, but they may also be bearing the emotional brunt of a decade that started with the horror of 9/11 and since has seen several wars and economic turmoil,” he added.
“Women ages 45 and older showed the highest use of these drugs overall,” the report stated. “Yet surprisingly, it was younger men (ages 20 to 44) who experienced the greatest increase in their numbers, rising 43 percent from 2001 to 2010.”
The Medco study included statistics that showed the number of women taking drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) over the last year was 2.5 times higher than it was in 2001 – “most striking jump” (a 264% percent increase over 10 years) among 20- to 44-year-olds.
The investigation also found that the trends among children were the reverse of those of the adults. More prescriptions were written for boys than for girls, in particular for the treatment of ADHD, but once they got older women were taking more medication than men, especially in the “diabetes belt” states of Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky. Diabetes is connected to raised levels of anxiety and depression, which can lead to further memory and mental health along with physical problems.
The lowest rate of prescription drug usage was in the Midwest states of Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.
While this random sampling of information was gathered from a reputable company, there are many who disagree with this assessment. If 25% of women in the United States are taking medication for mental health, what is causing this upsurge? Some believe that figure is way too high, and the cause could be that doctors are still handing out medications to women to stop their complaining instead of searching out the root of the problem. Others think the rise in the number of rape cases — most gone unreported, has caused a state of anxiety and “out of balance.”
For whatever reason, the rise in people being medicated to treat depression should be a sign of other problems, and medication should be taken only as part of a treatment plan worked out by a mental health expert.
This is Ron White, memory keynote speaker. I am concerned about the results of this study because depression, anxiety and diabetes are all memory-blockers, and overmedicating to take care of psychological problems is not a beneficial mental health solution.
Newsmax Health: 1 in 5 Americans Using Mental Health Drugs, by Doug McDonald: http://www.newsmaxhealth.com/healthwire/mental_health_drugs_/2011/11/18/418193.html
PRNewswire — America’s State of Mind: New Report Finds Americans Increasingly Turned to Medications to Ease Their Mental Woes; Women Lead the Trend: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/americas-state-of-mind-new-report-finds-americans-increasingly-turn-to-medications-to-ease-their-mental-woes-women-lead-the-trend-133939038.html