Antidepressant Use Soars

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In 2005, 10% of Americans aged six or older — some 27 million people — received at least one prescription for antidepressants. That’s up from just under 6% in 1996.

These results come from a new study published in the journal, Archives of General Psychiatry, released today and based on the nationally representative Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. The study suggests that this increase in antidepressant use could be due to an increased prevalence of major depression itself. It’s probably also partly due to a more widespread acceptance of mental-health treatment. Patients should still be careful though. As John Cloud wrote last week for, many patients with major depression continue to go untreated — while others without depression are often misdiagnosed.