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Antidepressants Widely Used

Antidepressants are among the most popular pills in the pharmacy. At last count, over 150 million prescriptions were dispensed in the U.S. each year. A new study suggests, however, that some people may be taking them unnecessarily. The scientists reviewed data from about 20,000 adults interviewed between 2001 and 2003. About ten percent said they had taken an antidepressant during the preceding year, but one fourth of those had never been diagnosed with depression or other conditions for which the drugs are approved. One psychiatrist not associated with the study said these findings did not surprise him. He reported that only about half of the people taking antidepressants have a psychiatric diagnosis. These drugs can have serious side effects, and stopping them may be difficult.

[Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, online Jan 25, 2011]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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