Recession Depression Increases Use of Antidepressant Meds
Depression and anxiety are on the rise, and sharply affecting the number of people experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety is the continued pressure and strain on household finances from the recession. As fears increase that the country may be headed into a double dip recession, with economic recovery seeming impossibly far away, those numbers could climb even higher.
A study completed in the spring found that 71% of those who had lost their jobs in the previous 12 months had experienced symptoms of depression, while more than half had experienced stress and anxiety as a result of the recession. Young adults, ages 18-30, were more likely to experience adverse affects; researchers expressed concern over the long-term affects this could have on the population.
“What makes our findings worrying is the high percentage of people reporting symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. This applies even more to those who have lost their job or experienced a major loss of income,” said Dr Joerg Huber, lead researcher from Roehampton University. “Left untreated, depression could turn into a vicious cycle of related disability and an inability to work,” he added.
Adding to the problem, particularly as the economy fails to show any signs of real recovery, may be the lack of availability of enough mental health professionals to handle the issues. In Britain, there is evidence of a growing crisis. According to the National Health Service, the number of prescriptions written for depression and anxiety has almost doubled in the last year there.
In the states, antidepressant use has skyrocketed. According to a study published last fall in the Archives of General Psychiatry, the use of antidepressants in the U.S. doubled between 1996 and 2005. The reliance on antidepressants could continue to grow at a more rapid rate than other prescriptions if the economy continues its tailspin into what some analysts are calling the next “great depression.”