November 17, 2011
1-in-4 Women Take Medication For Mental Health Condition
According to new research, over one-in-four women take medication to treat a mental health condition.
The report by Medco Health Solutions found that women of all ages take more mental health medications than males, with antidepressants being the most commonly used.
Anxiety treatments are also widely used by women and at almost twice the rate of men, and the greatest age group who uses these drugs were women between 45 and 65 years of age.
The number of women on ADHD drugs was 2.5 times higher than in 2001, which was higher than what number of men use the drugs.
Women between the ages of 20 to 44 years used ADHD drugs 264 percent times more often than what they did ten years ago.
"Over the past decade, there has been a significant uptick in the use of medications to treat a variety of mental health problems; what is not as clear is if more people - especially women, are actually developing psychological disorders that require treatment, or if they are more willing to seek out help and clinicians are better at diagnosing these conditions than they once were," Dr. David Muzina, a psychiatrist and national practice leader of the Medco Neuroscience Therapeutic Resource Center, said in a press release.
"Women are generally more frequent users of healthcare, but they may also be bearing the emotional brunt of a decade that started with the horror of 9/11 and since has seen several wars and economic turmoil."
The amount of children on mental drug treatments also jumped up over the past ten years. However, the use of antidepressants in children 19 and younger declined since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warnings in 2004 on risks of suicidal ideation linked to these drugs in children.
The number of children on atypical antipsychotics doubled from 2001 to 2010.
"The fact that more children are being treated with atypicals is concerning given that substantial weight gain is highly associated with the use of these drugs in this population, putting children at risk for diabetes and heart disease-related conditions," Dr. Muzina said in a statement. "When using these drugs, children need to be monitored on a frequent basis to prevent against these serious health risks."
Older women are most apt to use an antidepressant, according to the research. Nearly 24 percent of women over 64 take antidepressants. This age category also saw a jump in use of antidepressants in 2001, posting a 40 percent increase in their numbers.
There was a steep decline in the number of elderly women taking anti-anxiety medications, which was down 47 percent from a decade ago.
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