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Australia: The Medicated Nation

March 17, 2013

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The use of antidepressants doubled in Australia between 2000 and 2011 and they now account for two out of every three psychotropic medications prescribed, a new study by the University of Sydney reveals.

It also shows that over the last decade there has been a dramatic 58 percent increase in the use of psychotropic medications by the Australian population, which has only increased by 13 percent over that time.

“Australians are increasingly relying on the use of psychotropic meds to treat their mental health problems,” said Professor Iain McGregor, from the University’s School of Psychology and senior author of the study published this week in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.

“These results are surprising, somewhat worrying, and raise the question of why so many of us need drugs to be able to cope with modern life.

“The heavy use of antidepressants may reflect their increasing use in conditions other than depression: everything from anxiety disorders to treating pain.

“These drugs have been relentlessly promoted by the pharmaceutical industry but meds are not the only answer, and anyone with emotional problems should consider diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and psychological therapy,” Professor McGregor said.

Psychotropic medications act on the brain and are used to control behaviour and mood. They are among the most widely prescribed drugs in Australia and worldwide. They include antidepressants, sedatives, antipsychotics, mood stabilisers and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder medications.

The use of antipsychotic drugs, commonly used to treat schizophrenia, has also doubled between 2000 and 2011.

“Use of atypical antipsychotics in conditions other than schizophrenia, for example in bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, ADHD and dementia, may be driving this increase,” said Professor McGregor.

“While a godsend in many difficult cases, some of the antipsychotic drugs can have major side effects including obesity, diabetes and loss of interest in life.”

The use of benzodiazapine drugs such as Valium has remained fairly static over the decade, although there has been a marked increase in the use of a drug called alprazolam or Xanax.

“This is of concern because Xanax can be highly addictive and is frequently overused,” said Professor McGregor.

There has been a 73 percent increase in the distribution of medications used for ADHD, particularly the long-acting form of methylphenidate.

“The issue here is that there are concerns about the long-term effectiveness of these medications,” said Professor McGregor.

 

 

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. el gordo permalink
    March 17, 2013 10:23 am

    “While a godsend in many difficult cases, some of the antipsychotic drugs can have major side effects including obesity, diabetes and loss of interest in life.”

    Yes, there is a lot of it about.

  2. March 17, 2013 1:40 pm

    “These results are surprising, somewhat worrying, and raise the question of why so many of us need drugs to be able to cope with modern life.”

    Perhaps it’s because the “modern world” is so fundamentally at odds with humanity…

    We live in an increasingly fast pace world where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. What’s more the poor are now propping up society and are expected to just “deal with it” with increased taxes, cuts in govt spending, while the rich just seem to walk away scot free.

    Look at post GFC Europe and the US to see the signs.

    Have any of those US banks that were bailed out by Joe Public been asked to pay back any of the billions that were donated to them to keep them liquid during the crisis been asked to pay that money back?

    Meanwhile millions of ordinary folk lost their houses, their livelihoods and in some cases their lives, and we are all just meant to suck it up, while fat cats like James Packer line the pockets of corrupt officials and go on TV to sob their little hearts outs with “daddy loved me” stories that make Home And Away look like Four Corners.

    Aside from Doug Cameron and Malcolm Turnbull there’s probably no one left in Australian political circles worthy of any respect any more.

    We’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel with living dregs like the pompous and ever-condescending Gillard trailing around fobbing us all off with something about “molecules” and the new NEW new Mr Abbott sponsored by Botox and Max Factor handing out the Bold and the Beautiful How to Vote cards.

    It’s all fkn shite. All of it.

  3. March 17, 2013 1:44 pm

    I think I digressed in that last point just a tad.

    The point I was trying to make, is that it’s no surprise that one in four people are on antidepressants in Australia when you consider how much of materialistic society we have become.

    It’s little wonder that so many people find themselves unable to cope.

  4. armchair opinionator permalink
    March 17, 2013 2:30 pm

    The point I was trying to make, is that it’s no surprise that one in four people are on antidepressants in Australia when you consider how much of materialistic society we have become.

    We have to keep being ever more productive to feed the insatiable predator known as ‘teh market’ even though the market is destroying the very existence of the planet that sustains us. People are stressed to the max, trapped in a life of voluntary slavery, competing with their supposed colleagues and friends to the point of exhaustion for bones and scraps thrown to them from the walking dead who feed off their labour and innovation.

  5. March 17, 2013 2:42 pm

    “competing with their supposed colleagues and friends”

    That’s one of the things that shits me the most about corpse-tology these days AO…

    The myth that’s persistently trotted out as being “the ability to work independently and in a team….”

    The reality is that it’s a dog-eat-dog world that those in authority encourage – effectively setting people against each other to the extent that any pretence of a “team” is just a superficial facade.

    The reality is that corpse-tology actively encourages people to stab each other in the back as they strive to climb the corporate ladder – using and abusing people along the way to serve their own aims – and discarding those who serve no useful purpose in fulfilling their own selfish pursuits and ambitions.

    I’ve worked with my fair share in my time, and they’re practically psychotic.

    Meanwhile “the bosses” send you on stupid courses like “how to work with difficult people” or hand you copies of mindless “self improvement” books.

    My advice to working with difficult people, is not to even bother. They’re not worth it.

  6. armchair opinionator permalink
    March 17, 2013 2:58 pm

    The reality is that it’s a dog-eat-dog world that those in authority encourage – effectively setting people against each other to the extent that any pretence of a “team” is just a superficial facade.

    Teh market in full operation, might as well be “the hunger games,” it’s ugliness has to be disguised or everyone would stop participating. The team in reality is the slaves competing to create more profits for the predators at the top.

    How would it feel to be adored by millions all over the world? You might need medication when it’s all over though.

  7. el gordo permalink
    March 17, 2013 3:48 pm

    Greedy pharmaceutical companies, in league with the medical profession, are drug pushing onto a hapless population.

    It will require a revolution to stop it.

  8. Power down permalink
    March 17, 2013 8:05 pm

    Preventing obesity is a laudable goal, but it has become the rationale for indiscriminate fat hunters. It can shade into a kind of bullying of the overweight, a badgering of anyone who likes butter or heavy cream. To the antifat crusaders, I say: Attack fatty junk food all you want. I’m with you. But you can deny me my roasted marrow bones when you pry them from my cold, dead hands.

    WSJ: Let Them Eat Fat

  9. TB Queensland permalink
    March 17, 2013 8:17 pm

    We have to keep being ever more productive to feed the insatiable predator known as ‘teh market’ even though the market is destroying the very existence of the planet that sustains us.

    And its the “simple” things. The Minister and I were having breakfast this morning and heard what sounded like the old “Greensleeves” ice cream van song … “Haven’t heard that for ages!” TM, said …

    I reflected … and ice cream is no longer a “treat” – boxes reside in fridges, just waiting for the demand … super markets killed the ice cream man … and what was a special occasion is now just run of the mill …

    And people don’t realise just how well off they are … imagine mortgage rates at 16% … laughable now … fkn impossible then!

  10. Power down permalink
    March 17, 2013 8:28 pm

    We needed something that would suppress the rigid social codes that kept our clans safe and alive. We needed something that, on occasion, would let us break free from our biological herd imperative — or at least let us suppress our angst when we did.

    We needed beer.

    NYT: How Beer Gave Us Civilization

  11. el gordo permalink
    March 17, 2013 8:31 pm

    ‘imagine mortgage rates at 16% … ‘

    PK said it was the recession we had to have.

  12. toilettopower permalink
    March 17, 2013 8:35 pm

    Mmmmmmmmmm, MONACO BARS, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

  13. March 18, 2013 1:06 am

    This doesn`t surprise me reb. Followin` the damn yanks again. *sigh* The yanks have a big problem with antidepressants too. The biggest (state) consumer of them is Utah, they seem to be a big hit with wives 2 through 15 in Mormon `colonies`.
    .
    Of course teabags are involved, it is the perfect meshing of the `ill`, religion and corporate-fanatics of big-pharma.

    (there will be no saving us from the delusion)

  14. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA permalink
    March 18, 2013 6:06 am

    “There has been a 73 percent increase in the distribution of medications used for ADHD, particularly the long-acting form of methylphenidate.”

    I currently don’t have the number’s but I would bet that it is amphetamines and anti-anxiety medications that are the lions share of this “overall” increase…Not surprised…

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