Report highlights rising use of mental health medications in US

20th November 2011 (Last Updated November 20th, 2011 18:30)

A report from Medco Health Solutions revealed that more than one in five adult Americans took at least one medication to treat a psychiatric or behavioural disorder in 2010.

A report from Medco Health Solutions revealed that more than one in five adult Americans took at least one medication to treat a psychiatric or behavioural disorder in 2010.

'America's State of Mind', an analysis of trends in mental health medication usage, showed that women used antidepressants, antipsychotics, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs more frequently than men.

Overall, the number of women on ADHD drugs was 2.5 times higher than in 2001.

According to the report, the number of children (aged 19 and younger) on mental health drug treatments was has risen in all areas over the past ten years, except antidepressants.

The number of children on atypical antipsychotics has doubled from 2001 to 2010, of whom boys are the primary users of ADHD drugs and atypical antipsychotics, while a greater number of girls take antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs.

The analysis reviewed regional use of mental health medications in 2010 and found 23% of patients are on mental health medications in the east south central region of the US.

Medco Neuroscience Therapeutic Resource Center psychiatrist and national practice leader David Muzina said studies have revealed that people with diabetes have higher levels of depression and anxiety disorders.

"It's not clear however, what the relationship is, which is why it's especially important that patients with diabetes be monitored for symptoms of depression and anxiety and vice versa. Having a coordinated care team is extremely important for these patients," Muzina added.