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Americans swap the couch for pills

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 19 January 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:133
  1. Scott Gottlieb
  1. New York

    More Americans are being treated for depression than ever before, suggesting that the stigma associated with the disease is declining, but the percentage of people on antidepressant drugs has risen dramatically, and fewer are receiving psychotherapy.

    The change probably doesn't stem from an actual increase in depression, according to a study published in JAMA last week (2002;287:203-9), but is most likely connected to the destigmatisation of mental health problems in general and depression in particular, the rise of managed care insurance plans, and the arrival of powerful drugs such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

    “The increase in the treatment …

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