April 29, 2022 – Acceptance of the idea that a chemical imbalance causes depression transformed the public’s comfort level about taking antidepressants. With a belief that a chemical imbalance caused their depression, accompanied by repeatedly hearing that Prozac, Zoloft, and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants “work to correct this imbalance,” it seemed irresponsible not to take these antidepressants. So between 1988 (when the first of the SSRIs, Prozac, hit the market) and 2008, the rate of antidepressant use in the United States increased nearly 400 percent. By 2013, 16.7 percent of American adults reported filling one or more prescriptions for psychiatric drugs; and a 2022 Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey (March 30-April 11) reported 23.5 percent of American adults (29.6 percent women) “took prescription medication for mental health.” Among children, Psychology Today reported in 2021: “In the USA, 1 in 12 children are on psychiatric drugs, including 1.2 percent of pre-schoolers and 12.9 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds.”


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