17% of American adults take psychiatric drugs: study

17% of American adults take psychiatric drugs: study

One in six American adults has to take a psychiatric medication to cope with conditions like anxiety, depression and insomnia, according to a new study.

Researchers studied data collected during 2013, and were surprised to find that nearly 17 per cent of adults in the United States filled one or more prescriptions for antidepressants like Zoloft; sedatives or sleep drugs like Xanax and Ambien; or antipsychotics that are used to treat conditions like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Thomas Moore, a co-author of the study, warned that many of those drugs have withdrawal effects and their long-term use may reflect drug dependence.

Moore, who oversees drug safety & policy at the Alexandria, Va.-based Institute for Safe Medication Practices, said, “From a drug safety perspective, I am concerned that so many of these drugs have withdrawal effects and that some of the overwhelming long-term use may reflect drug dependence.

Dr. Shawna Newman, a psychiatrist at NYC-based Lenox Hill Hospital, admitted that the use of psychotropic medication has become a big issue across the nation, but it lacks clarity and thus further investigation.

The study suggesting Americans’ increasing dependence on psychiatric medication detailed in the Dec. 12th edition of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.


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