The number of Americans on antidepressants doubled from 1996 to 2005, a new study finds, but fewer are seeing psychiatrists, and most aren’t using the drugs to affect their mood. As of 2005, the last year for which data were available, 27 million Americans—roughly 10% of the population—were on the drugs. But the majority used them to treat pain, fatigue, and other conditions, USA Today reports.
The increase could be due in part to the glut of antidepressant advertising, the study author posits. Spending on such ads ballooned from $32 million to $122 million over the course of the research. Improvements in antidepressants may also have made doctors more comfortable prescribing them, says a physician not involved in the study.