Monthly Archives: October 2011

Dramatic Increase in Antidepressant Use

From Medscape Online:

October 20, 2011 — Antidepressant use by Americans has risen dramatically in the last 5 years, with almost 1 in 10 individuals older than 12 years now taking these agents, according to data released from the latest National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

However, the survey, which was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), also showed that less than one third of those taking a single antidepressant between 2005 and 2008, and less than half of those taking multiple antidepressants, visited a mental health professional in the past year. Those who did make such visits were significantly more likely to be men than women.

“Females are more likely than males to take antidepressant medication at every level of depression severity,” writes lead author Laura A. Pratt, PhD, from the Office of Analysis and Epidemiology at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) in Hyattsville, Maryland.

The study was published online October 19 as an NCHS Data Brief.

400% Increase

According to a 2010 report released by the CDC, antidepressants were the most frequently prescribed prescription drug between 2005 and 2008 for adults aged 18 to 44 years, and the third most commonly used drug for all ages.

That report also showed that use of antidepressants increased by almost 400% for all ages from between 1988 and 1994 to the period between 2005 and 2008.

The NHANES is a continuous survey conducted by the CDC’s NCHS. It focuses on the health of the US population and consists of a household interview and a visit to a mobile examination center for a physical examination.

For this analysis, data were examined for 12,637 participants aged 12 years and older between 2005 and 2008.

Questions from the Patient Health Questionnaire were included in the NHANES to assess depression symptom severity.

Results showed that almost one third of people with severe depressive symptoms took antidepressants during the study. Although more than 60% of these individuals took this class of medication for longer than 2 years, 14% had taken it for more than 10 years.

“In general, there was no significant difference between males and females in length of use,” report the researchers.

Other findings included that:

  • 10.8% of all Americans older than 12 years take antidepressants;
  • 15.4% of women older than 12 years take antidepressants vs 6.0% of men;
  • those numbers increase to 22.8% vs 8.5%, respectively, for those aged 40 to 59 years;
  • for all ages with severe depressive symptoms, 39.9% of women and 21.0% of men take antidepressants; and
  • whites are more likely to take antidepressants (13.6%) than are blacks (3.9%) or Mexican-Americans (2.7%).

No variation in use was found between different income groups.

“According to the American Psychiatric Association guidelines, medications are the preferred treatment for moderate to severe depressive symptomatology,” write the investigators.

“The public health importance of increasing treatment rates for depression is reflected in Healthy People 2020, which includes national objectives to increase treatment for depression in adults and treatment for mental health problems in children,” they add.

2005-2008 NCHS Data Brief. Published online October 19, 2011

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Lookin’ Chipper :-)

Surprising to me too, but I was actually told that I looked chipper. I suppose that is a good thing, looking better than you feel. Compliments always make you feel better too. So I guess I must be feeling better as well. As Martha says, “It’s a good thing.”

So perhaps I need an attitude adjustment; start thinking positive and feel better. I think I’ll work on that.

Uncomfortably Numb

Deep experience is never peaceful. —- Henry James

I’m doing most of what I’m supposed to be doing…getting enough sleep (probably too much), taking my meds, seeing the therapist, eating so-so, being somewhat social. I just feel blah. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to do anything outside of going to work. I’m not particularly fatigued, I’m just very unmotivated and I don’t care.

My depression seemed to worsen when my son left for college. He hasn’t gone that far, just downtown to the urban art school campus, about 30 miles away. I still get to see him once in a while and we talk/text regularly. But living alone has been a huge change for me. I don’t seem to be adjusting very well at all. I’ve been lettting the cleaning go, avoiding the kitchen as much as possible, and spending a lot of time vegging. This is so not like me. I’m typically a very tidy person, like to cook, and like to be productive. I feel so out of sorts.

I had great plans for cleaning up the house when my son left. Having him and his friends tramping in and out tending to make for more cleaning up, and I thought of it as this great opportunity to really get things clean. I haven’t even been up to his room except to go to the attic and retrieve a few things. It just seems too overwhelming.

I guess this is what they call empty nest syndrome. I never imagined it could be such a setback in my mood. I’m sure I could be getting more exercise and all of that good stuff, but now I don’t see anything shifting me out of the numb spot. And it’s not very comfortable here either.

Mental Illness Awareness Week

Mental Illness Awareness Week  takes place October 2-8 and is an
opportunity to learn more about serious mental illnesses such as major
depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Mental illness is a medical problem. One in four adults
experiences a mental health problem in any given year. One in 17 lives with
serious, persistent mental illness.

The good news is that treatment does work and recovery is possible. Unfortunately, less than one-third of adults and less than one-half of children with a diagnosed illness receive treatment. The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that stigma is a major barrier to people seeking help when they need it.

That’s why Mental Illness Awareness Week, sponsored by NAMI, is so important. They want people to understand mental illness and join a dialogue in our community. The more people know, the better they can help themselves or help their loved ones get the help and support they need.

Been Here a Year

Hard to believe that I started blogging a little over a year ago. Looking back, I’ve covered a lot of territory. The question is, am I learning anything, and am I applying it to my life? I hope so, but its hard work.

My therapist is insistent that I really need to work on being more social. Being on the internet doesn’t count! This has been difficult for me. She laughs because just about all my friends are nurses. How else would I know people except through work? Even so, I find that I have a hard time reaching out to others. It’s soooo much easier to veg at home by myself on the weekend. Again I ask, why do I have to be the one reaching out to others? I feel like sometimes someone should reach out to me!

Anyways, it has been a long year of blogging. I have learned much about writing for others and myself. It takes time and thoughtfulness to write something meaningful. I don’t know if it has been helpful to anyone else, but it has been helpful for me. I could never write a journal for myself, but this has come to me somewhat easier. Hopefully even as my depression may improve, I’ll still be able to write about significant topics.