Antidepressant Use Rising, Especially in Women

Megan Brooks

August 15, 2017

Antidepressant use in the United States has soared nearly 65% over the past 15 years, from about 8% in 1999-2002 to 13% in 2011-2014, according to new data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For the period 2011-2014, women were about twice as likely as men to report past-month antidepressant medication use (16.5% vs 8.6%), write Laura A. Pratt, PhD, of the NCHS Office of Analysis and Epidemiology, and colleagues in a data brief published online August 15.

Overall, antidepressant use increased with age, from 3.4% among people aged 12 to 19 years to 19.1% among those aged 60 years and older. Increased use with age occurred in both men and women.

Non-Hispanic whites were five times more likely than non-Hispanic Asians to have taken antidepressant medication in the past month (16.5% vs 3.3%) and were three times more likely than Hispanic (5.0%) and non-Hispanic black (5.6%) individuals.

Females in every race and Hispanic-origin group were far more likely than males of the same race and Hispanic-origin group to report antidepressant medication use.

For the period 2011-2014, 68.0% of antidepressant users had been taking the medication for 2 years or longer; 21.4% of males and 27.2% of females reported taking antidepressant medication for 10 years or longer. There were no statistically significant differences between males and females in the length of antidepressant use.

The findings are based on an analysis of data from 14,034 individuals aged 12 years and older who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011-2014. Of these, 13,951 persons gave information on medication usage.

NCHS. Data Brief 283. Published online August 15, 2017. Full text


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