Are Anti-Depressants The Cure?
Some experts say the numbers prove depression is a major public health issue.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antidepressants like Paxil, Prozac and Lexapro, are the most prescribed drugs. In 2005, more prescriptions were written for antidepressants than for high blood pressure, high cholesterol medicines and even for asthma.
"They reduce suicide, they improve quality of life, but our shotgun approach to it is terribly, terribly ineffective," Psychiatrist Dr. Charles Herlihy said.
While some psychiatrists see the increased use of antidepressants as good news, others say many of those prescriptions may be unnecessary.
"I think it reflects a desperation that the country feels, particularly the physicians are on the front line trying to help people who clearly are overwhelmed," Dr. Herlihy said.
Doctors say patients should get complete physicals to rule out any other other medical problems before starting antidepressants.