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More antidepressants prescribed in U.S., East Texans not surprised

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Antidepressants are now the most commonly prescribed medication in the U.S., according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The study also shows that less Americans are seeking psychological help to combat depression.

More prescriptions doesn't mean America is in a collective depression.

"I think it's just more accepted now then it was before," said Becky Slater, a clinical social worker.

Dr. Michelle Bosworth, with the UT Health and Science Center at Tyler, says depression is simply being addressed.

"More people are getting prescribed antidepressant medication because there's more awareness of depression," said Bosworth.

She says depression is a disease and it has to be treated as such.

"And, I think that's why depression was previously not treated as much, is because everybody is afraid of being depressed because it's a mental illness," said Bosworth.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, in 1996, 13,000,000 Americans were prescribed antidepressants. In 2005, that number ballooned to 27,000,000 Americans. That's 10% of the U.S. population. And, in 2008, more than 164,000,000 prescriptions were written for antidepressants totaling $9.6 billion in sales.

"Medication is just easier," said Becky Slater. "It's not as effective as therapy and medication, but it's easier to take a pill then it is to actually go to therapy and do the work."

The decline in Americans seeking psychological treatment is not lost on Slater.

"The medication helps the brain work in a way that then they can access therapy more," said Slater.

But, she says medication should be used in conjunction with seeing a councilor or psychologist.

"Medication is not going to solve the issues," said Slater. "It'll make you better able to focus on them. But, it's not going to solve the issues. That's what therapy does."

A change in eating habits, low self-esteem and a sudden change in mood are just a few of the symptoms for depression. Doctor's stress that depression is a disease. So, if you feel any of these symptoms, set-up and appointment with a local physician. Depression can be treated.

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