Researchers at the University of Illinois released a study suggesting over one-third of Americans use prescription medications linked to depression or increased risk of suicide. Many of the prescribed medications aren’t used in the treatment of depression or other mental illnesses, leaving both doctors and patients in the dark about potential side effects. With suicide rates on the rise the study sheds light on potential factors involved in these deaths. The team found medicines prescribed for high blood pressure, acid reflux and even birth control to be affecting the mental health of patients.
Suicide rates have nearly climbed 30% since 1999, all while the number of Americans taking prescription medication is at an all time high. The team found many of these drugs to not have warning labels associated with these side effects, and many participants were found to be taking multiple medications in conjunction. More than 26,000 adults were analyzed in the study that spanned 9 years, while completing the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). Though the findings of the study didn’t find these drugs to be a direct cause of depression, concerns remain valid. Hopefully these findings along with rising concern of depression, a leading cause of disability in the United States, mental health and suicide will prompt patients to be more vocal with their doctors about possible risks.