Nearly 13% Of Americans Over The Age Of 12 Are On Antidepressants, And White Women Are The Most Likely To Take Them

The rapid rise of antidepressant use leaves many people wondering why there is one demographic in particular that is so much more likely to take the medication than others.

By Gina Florio2 min read
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Shutterstock/Daniel Jedzura

More people than ever in the U.S. are struggling with a mental health disease. Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders are on the rise, while many celebrities and influencers make an entire platform about mental health awareness. Meanwhile, the most common response to this widespread issue is pharmaceuticals, with very little attention paid to lifestyle, diet, endocrine disruptors, etc. Many times, when people even bring up the importance of a healthy lifestyle in regard to mental health, they are dismissed and chastised for even suggesting that mental wellness can be treated naturally.

Nearly 13% of Americans over the Age of 12 Are on Antidepressants, and White Women Are the Most Likely To Take Them

The use of antidepressants, particularly among women, has been on the rise in recent years. A Twitter thread by @therealmissjo has shed light on the increasing prevalence of antidepressant prescriptions among women, specifically white women, drawing attention to this concerning trend.

"White women. What on earth???" she tweeted. "What is wrong with their lives that they have to medicate so much? Sold a dream of 'you can have it all' and then find out that having a fading career and two cats is not enough??"

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the use of antidepressants has increased by nearly 65% in the past 15 years. This rise is particularly pronounced among women, with one in four white women now reporting the use of prescription antidepressants. This statistic is noteworthy, as it indicates that white women are being prescribed antidepressants at twice the rate of Hispanic and black women. This disparity raises questions about the possible factors contributing to these differences, such as cultural stigmas surrounding mental health and even access to healthcare services. It's also worth noting that 75% of the country is white, so of course there will be more white women seeking mental health care than people of color. However, even when factoring for demographics, white women are much more likely to take antidepressants than their minority counterparts.

There are many speculations as to why white women in particular feel the need to take antidepressants more than any other demographic, such as they lifestyle, their propensity for progressive ideologies that turn them into a victim, their willingness to accept modern feminist narratives and apply them liberally to their lives, etc.

One reason for this growing trend all around is the increased awareness and destigmatization of mental health challenges. In recent years, there has been a significant shift in how society views and discusses mental health, which has led to more people seeking help for their struggles. Consequently, more individuals are being diagnosed with conditions like anxiety and depression, resulting in higher rates of antidepressant prescriptions. It has gotten to the point where many people are wondering if all of the individuals who take antidepressants actually need them or if these medications are being overprescribed.

The growing reliance on antidepressants raises concerns about the potential risks and side effects associated with these medications. A 2018 New York Times article highlighted the challenges of withdrawing from antidepressants, such as Prozac and Cymbalta, with patients experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms that can last for months or even years. These symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, and brain zaps—sudden, uncomfortable sensations that feel like electric shocks in the brain.

Moreover, there is a risk of developing a dependence on these medications, leading to long-term use and making it difficult for individuals to cope without them. This dependence can result in a vicious cycle, where the fear of experiencing withdrawal symptoms prevents people from discontinuing their medication, even if it is no longer beneficial or necessary.

For those seeking alternative methods to manage their mental health challenges, various options can be considered. These alternatives include psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which has been shown to be highly effective in treating anxiety and depression. Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and breathwork, can also help individuals cultivate self-awareness and manage their emotions more effectively. Moreover, lifestyle changes like regular exercise, a balanced diet, and proper sleep can significantly impact your mental health. Social support is also essential, as having a strong network of friends and family members can provide much-needed encouragement during difficult times.