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1 in 10 Americans Taking Antidepressants

September 13, 2009

The number of Americans taking antidepressants doubled to 10.1 percent of the U.S. population in 2005 compared with 1996, increasing across income and age groups, a study found.

An estimated 27 million U.S. people ages 6 and older were taking the drugs by 2005, while their use of psychotherapy declined, according to Columbia University research published in the August issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Rising use of the drugs "may involve the introduction of new antidepressants, the increase in the direct-to-consumer advertising, lessening stigma with seeking mental health care" and more Americans acknowledging they are depressed, said lead author Mark Olfson, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York.

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