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Antidepressants Now Most Prescribed Drugs

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that antidepressants are now the most commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S., totaling 118 million prescriptions in 2005, CNN reported July 9.

Some see the trend as reflecting the fact that a quarter of U.S. adults will have a major depressive episode sometime in their lives. “Depression is a major public health issue,” said Kelly Posner, an assistant professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. “The fact that people are getting the treatments they need is encouraging.”

Others, like Dr. Ronald Dworkin, say, “Doctors are now medicating unhappiness. Too many people take drugs when they really need to be making changes in their lives.” Critics contend that the real driving force behind the prescription statistics is heavy marketing to doctors and consumers by pharmaceutical companies.

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