Antidepressants apparently keep a lot of people functional, according to new data from the federal government.
The most recent statistics about antidepressant use in the United States, released Wednesday, show 11% of Americans ages 12 and older take the medication. Antidepressants are the most common prescription drug used by people ages 18 to 44. Almost one-quarter of all women ages 40 to 59 take antidepressants.
People tend to stick with the medications. More than 60% of those on antidepressants said they had taken it for two years or longer, and 14% had used the pills for 10 years or more.
The study found that from 1988 to 1994 and 2005 to 2008, antidepressant use increased nearly 400%. The upswing had much to do with the discovery of SSRI antidepressants (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) that have fewer side effects than previous generations of the medications.