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Study: Antidepressant Use Skyrockets 400%

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BY KIM ST. ONGE

You're watching multisource video news analysis from Newsy.

Feeling blue? You're not alone. A new study by the CDC shows antidepressant use has soared in the past two decades. HLN has the numbers.

"One in 10 Americans is taking antidepressants. Now the CDC says that antidepressant use has skyrocketed almost 400% since the late 1980s."

But is the jump because people are more comfortable talking about depression or is the disorder over-diagnosed? The study, which tested 12,000 Americans over the age of 12, found only a third people with symptoms of severe depression take antidepressants.

The study also found women are two and a half times more likely to take the pills than men. ABC spoke with a doctor who says it's not always that women are more depressed.

Reporter: "Could it also be that women are more likely to seek treatment though?"
Doctor: "Yes, absolutely. I think women are more comfortable saying 'I think that there is a problem I'm having with my emotion.'"

A doctor at NYU told WTMA radio the statistics some are calling "depressing" are actually a good sign.

"I think it's a good thing that one in ten people in the U.S. are on antidepressants. It's really hard to convince people to be on medication -- it's not something that people do lightly. I think the fact that more people are on medication means that more people are becoming aware of the signs of depression and that there is less stigma about seeking help."

While more people are on antidepressants, a writer for Fox News argues the spike in drug use isn't necessarily because more people are depressed.

"I think Americans are being aggressively over-diagnosed and have become too sensitive to minor health problems. We have started to believe that we shouldn't have to live our lives with problems or depression, and picking up a pill is a quick fix to feel better."

The study showed increased depression in southeastern states. Researchers say this could be because chronic conditions associated with the disorder like stroke and obesity are more common in that region of the United States.



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