1 in 6 Americans Says They’ve Taken Psychiatric Drugs

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Approximately 1 in 6 Americans reports that they take a psychiatric drug, according to an analysis of a 2013 government study. A majority of participants in the study revealed the drug in question is typically an antidepressant like Zoloft or an anti-anxiety medication like Xanax.

The analysis was performed by Thomas J. Moore, a researcher at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, a nonprofit in Alexandria, Va. Moore, who co-authored the study with Donald R. Mattison of Risk Sciences International in Ottawa, said: “I follow this area, so I knew the numbers would be high.” The pair combed household surveys and insurance data compiled by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for their analysis.

Of the 37,421 adults involved, 16.7% reported filling one or more prescriptions for drugs in a year. 12.0% reported antidepressants; 8.3% filled prescriptions for anxiolytics, sedatives, and hypnotics; and 1.6% took antipsychotics.

Almost 85 percent of those who reported taking one drug had filled three or more prescriptions for that drug over the course of the year studied. The authors deemed this long-term use. “To discover that 8 in 10 adults who have taken psychiatric drugs are using them long term raises safety concerns, given that there’s reason to believe some of this continued use is due to dependence and withdrawal symptoms,” Moore said.

The damaging effects of pharmaceutical medications reaches into multiple areas of life; for one, the pricetag attached to these medications continues to rise, and their efficacy is constantly called into question. While there’s a time and place for heavy-duty pain killers, the increase in casual psychiatric drug use is worrying when the side effects are considered.

If a person continues to take a drug for three years that would imply that the problem persists. Why is their health complaint not being thoroughly addressed? More importantly, why is the issue not being tackled at the root? It’s this “root cause” approach that TCM embraces to conquer problems at the source. More and more research is emerging to show how damaging – and fatal – an over-reliance on pharmaceutical medications can become if not properly administered. Mixing of multiple prescriptions is equally as dangerous. The biggest problem surrounding this issue is that of inefficiency – many drugs simply don’t work, while harming the person taking them.

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