The rate of antidepressant use in the United States skyrocketed by nearly 400% over the past decade - with 11% of Americans aged 12 and over taking antidepressant medication.
According a recent study published by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), antidepressants were the third most common drug prescribed to Americans of all ages in 2005-2008 and the most frequently used by individuals aged 18-44 years.
Interestingly enough, the CDC confirmed there was "significant differences" in antidepressant usage based on gender, age and ethnicity.
For example, females were 2½ times as likely as males to take antidepressants, while use of such medication was higher in persons aged 40 and over than in the 12–39 age range.
Yet, there was no significant difference in length of use between males and females.
Meanwhile, non-Hispanic whites were more likely to take antidepressants than other race and ethnicity groups, with additional (separate) studies showing similar age, gender, race and ethnicity patterns.
Surprisingly, there was no variation in antidepressant use by income group.
The study also noted that approximately 8% of persons aged 12 and over with no current depressive symptoms took antidepressant medication. This group likely includes individuals prescribed meds for reasons other than depression, along with those following a treatment regime who no longer exhibit depressive symptoms.
The study concluded that slightly over one-third of persons aged 12 and over with current severe depressive symptoms were taking antidepressants.