While women are nearly twice as likely as men to take psychiatric medications — with women over 45 showing the highest use of these drugs overall — the rate of drug use to treat psychological conditions rose most in young men, increasing 43% in men aged 20 to 44 between 2001 and 2010. The persistent differences in use by gender may reflect the fact that women are more likely to seek medical attention for mental health issues than are men.
Among children, in contrast, boys (5%) were slightly more likely to be medicated than girls (4%) for psychological or behavioral problems; however, the rate of use rose faster in girls over the previous decade. The differences here may be due in part to the way mental and behavioral problems manifest in childhood: boys may be more likely to show visible bad behavior than girls.
More than 1 in 5 American adults now takes at least one type of medication to treat a psychological or behavioral disorder, a 22% rise since 2001, according to a new report by Medco Health Solutions, which monitors drug trends in insurance claims. Does that mean Americans are overmedicating their minds?