Two slightly differing views of prescription rates in the United States. Taken together, they remind us that what goes on with the prescribing of psychotropic medications is quite complicated. The first from Charles Barber, author recently of Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry Is Medicating a Nation.
An 2006, an astonishing 227 million prescriptions for antidepressants were dispensed in the United States — up 30 million from 2002. Altogether the United States accounts for about two-thirds of the global market for antidepressants. Other proven and practical approaches to managing milder forms of depression, such as diet changes, exercise or cognitive behavioral therapy, haven’t gotten the attention they deserve in our high-tech zeal for the drugs.
Another view from Peter Kramer, author of Prozac Nation.
According to a study from the MIT Sloan School of Management, on a per capita basis, by the year 2000 Swedes and Canadians had begun taking more antidepressants than we do. Greece, Italy, Spain, and (again) Sweden used a larger proportion of new, on-patent antidepressants than did the United States. The authors concluded that on the variables studied, the United States “is often ‘in the middle’ relative to other countries, and is not an outlier.”
Kalea Chapman, Psy.D.