Friday, May 8, 2009

More Americans taking drugs for mental illness

Many more Americans have been using prescription drugs to treat mental illness since 1996, in part because of expanded insurance coverage and greater familiarity with the drugs among primary care doctors, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

They said 73 percent more adults and 50 percent more children are using drugs to treat mental illness than in 1996.

Among adults over 65, use of so-called psychotropic drugs -- which include antidepressants, antipsychotics and Alzheimer's medicines -- doubled between 1996 and 2006.

"What we generally find is there has been an increase in access to care for all populations," said Sherry Glied of Columbia University in New York, whose study appears in the journal Health Affairs.


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