Home » COVID-19 Aftermath: Rise in Antidepressant Use Among Young Women 

COVID-19 Aftermath: Rise in Antidepressant Use Among Young Women 

by Richard A Reagan

A study, recently published in the journal Pediatrics, has brought to light a significant increase in antidepressant use among adolescents and young adults linked to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The research, spearheaded by Kao Ping Chua, M.D., PhD, from the University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, utilized data spanning from 2016 to 2022, sourced from the IQVIA Longitudinal Prescription Database. [Source]

This database, renowned for its extensive coverage, compiles prescription information from a vast majority of U.S. retail pharmacies, providing a reliable lens through which to view prescribing trends.

“Using 2016-2022 data from a comprehensive national database, we found that the antidepressant dispensing rate to adolescents and young adults was increasing rapidly before March 2020 but increased nearly 64% faster afterward,” Dr. Chua conveyed to Fox News Digital.

This surge in antidepressant prescriptions was exclusively attributed to female adolescents and young adults.

Dr. Chua’s findings reveal a staggering 130% acceleration in the dispensing rate for girls aged 12 to 17 post-March 2020, compared to the period before the pandemic. For young women aged 18 to 25, the increase was 57% faster during the same timeframe.

Conversely, the study notes a decrease or negligible change in antidepressant prescriptions among young males, despite other studies indicating a decline in their mental health during the pandemic. 

Dr. Chua expressed worry about this trend, stating, “Given this, it is surprising that the rate of antidepressant dispensing to male adolescents declined. I worry that this decline may reflect underdiagnosis and undertreatment of mental health concerns.”

Mental health experts not involved in the study have weighed in on the findings, attributing the rise in antidepressant use to increased accessibility to mental health care and a reduction in the stigma surrounding mental health treatment.

Marlene McDermott, LMFT, PhD, a Philadelphia-based therapist, stressed the importance of monitoring these trends to determine whether they signify a new baseline or a deepening mental health crisis among teens.

“The destigmatization of mental health treatment is a good thing for the adolescent population,” McDermott remarked. “If the use of antidepressants lowers the death by suicide rates, we are on the right track.”

Marissa Stridiron, M.D., also highlighted the increased influx of children and adolescents in crisis into emergency rooms during the pandemic, attributing it to reduced early intervention, social isolation, and a surge in cyberbullying. 

However, Stridiron also noted a silver lining: “National media attention surrounding psychiatric crises in children and adults has led to increased access and earlier interventions in the outpatient realm, including from primary care physicians.”

The study’s authors acknowledge limitations, including the inability to pinpoint the exact reasons behind the observed changes in antidepressant use. 

Dr. Chua concluded with a message of solidarity and encouragement for those affected: “Adolescents and young adults with mental health symptoms should know that they are not alone. It is important for them to seek medical attention if they are having these symptoms and for their parents to encourage them to do so.”

You may also like

WP Twitter Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com