July 27, 2009

Many in Spain use psychopharmaceuticals

In Spain, 24 percent of women use antidepressants and 31 percent use tranquillizers -- sometimes used to help people sleep, researchers said.

Lead author Sonsoles Perez of the Las Aguilas Health Centre in Madrid and colleagues studied 121 women in Madrid ages 25-65 using family dysfunction surveys and the additive scale used to evaluate social readjustment. The psychopharmaceuticals analyzed were antidepressants and benzodiazepines -- sedatives, anxiety reducing, anti-convulsant or muscle relaxants.

Although one might think that family conflicts lead to greater consumption of psychopharmaceuticals among women, we did not find any such relationship Perez said in a statement.

Some people with family, work-related or financial problems do not feel able to tackle their problems and fall back on the use of drugs.

The study, published in the journal Atencion Primaria, also found in 78.6 percent of cases, these drugs are prescribed in primary health centers. The diagnosis is recorded in the patient's medical records in 64.5 percent of cases, with the primary causes being depression at 11.6 percent, anxiety at 9.9 percent and 3.3 percent of insomnia.

The researchers found benzodiazepine use increases with age, but there was no similar finding with antidepressant use.