Antidepressants were taken by 11% of Americans over the age of twelve years during the period 2005-2008, according to a CDC report issued today. Antidepressants are the most common prescription drugs taken by individuals aged 18 to 44 – nearly one quarter of all females aged 40 to 59 take them, the reports informs.

The authors report that teenage women are two times as likely to take antidepressants as adult males. Usage among people aged 12 to 17 is about the same in both sexes.

A higher percentage of over 40s take prescription drugs for depression, compared to those in the 12-39 age group.

Below are some highlighted data from the report:

  • Non-Hispanic Caucasians have the highest percentage of antidepressant usage (14%) than any other ethnicity group or race.
  • 4% of non-Hispanic black people and 3% of Mexican-Americans take antidepressants.
  • Anti depressant usage does not vary according to income.
  • 23% of women aged 40 to 59 are on antidepressants (highest group).
  • Length of antidepressant use overall is fairly similar among males and females.
  • A higher percentage of males on antidepressants have seen a mental health professional during the previous twelve months than females on antidepressants.
  • Approximately 8% of teenagers and adults with no current symptoms of depression take antidepressants.
  • Just over one-third of teenage and adult individuals with current severe symptoms of depressions were taking antidepressants (20% of males and 40% of females).
  • About 14% of those on an antidepressant take more than one drug for the conditions – rates were similar for both sexes.
  • Among those taking at least two antidepressants, under half have seen a mental health professional during the past twelve months.
  • Over 60% of those taking antidepressants have done so regularly for over two years.

It is surprising for many people that there are so many individuals with severe depressive symptoms not taking any drugs for their condition, while a considerable number with no symptoms are taking them.

The American Psychiatric Association says that antidepressant are the preferred treatment for moderate to severe depressive symptamology.

Written by Christian Nordqvist