And no, I’m not talking about our economy, but rather clinical depression demonstrated by an increase in antidepressant drugs.  The United States now has 27 million residents on antidepressant medication.

Reuters reports:

Use of antidepressant drugs in the United States doubled between 1996 and 2005, probably because of a mix of factors, researchers reported on Monday.

About 6 percent of people were prescribed an antidepressant in 1996 — 13 million people. This rose to more than 10 percent or 27 million people by 2005, the researchers found.

"Significant increases in antidepressant use were evident across all sociodemographic groups examined, except African Americans," Dr. Mark Olfson of Columbia University in New York and Steven Marcus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia wrote in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

"Not only are more U.S. residents being treated with antidepressants, but also those who are being treated are receiving more antidepressant prescriptions," they added. (read rest)

They aren’t sure why but some attribute it to social acceptance, as well as, the availability of new drugs.  I wonder if this is a case of an increase for clinical depression or just an increase of people who are willing to seek treatment for it?  I also wonder how much of this is actually situational rather than chemical induced and doesn’t require medication.

Either way, not a good trend.

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