1 In 3 Adults In The U.S. Takes Medications Linked To Depression
By Allison Aubrey
If you take Prilosec or Zantac for acid reflux, a beta blocker for high blood pressure, or Xanax for anxiety, you may be increasing your risk of depression.
More than 200 common medications sold in the U.S. include depression as a potential side effect. Sometimes, the risk stems from taking several drugs at the same time.
Now, a new study finds people who take these medicines are, in fact, more likely to be depressed.
The list includes a wide range of commonly taken medications. Among them are certain types of proton pump inhibitors (used to treat acid reflux), beta blockers, anxiety drugs, painkillers including ibuprofen, ACE inhibitors (used to treat high blood pressure) and anti- convulsant drugs.
“The more of these medications you’re taking, the more likely you are to report depression,” says study author Mark Olfson, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University. The study, which was published Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, included 26,192 adults who participated in a federal survey, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. All of the participants listed the medications they were taking at the time of the survey. In addition, they each completed a depression screening, the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), which asks about sleep, mood and appetite.
More than a third of the people who took the survey were taking medications known to have depression or suicidal thoughts as potential side effects. Olfson and his collaborators wanted to determine whether those participants were more or less likely to be depressed, compared to participants who didn’t take any of these medications.
“What we found is that, in fact, they’re more likely,” Olfson says. And they found that people who took three or more of the medications were three times as likely to be depressed. About 15 percent of participants who simultaneously used three or more of these drugs were depressed. By compari- son, among participants who didn’t use any of the medica- tions, just 5 percent were depressed. Even those who used just one of these medications were at slightly higher risk of depression: About 7 percent were depressed.
Olfson says the study does not prove that the medications caused the depression. “We’re just showing that if you’re already taking them, you are more likely to be depressed,” he says.
To determine causation, he says, researchers would need to follow people over time — beginning at the time they start taking the medications — to see if they’re more likely to develop depression.
Nonetheless, Olfson says, he was surprised by the “strength of the association between the number of medications and the likelihood of being depressed.” These findings may motivate people to ask their health care providers more questions. “People should always be ready to ask, ‘What are the risks and the benefits of me taking this medication?’ “ says Don Mordecai, a psychiatrist with Kaiser Permanente in San Jose, Calif. And he says doctors should be ready to have these conversations, too.
Mordecai says, if you start a new medicine it can be helpful to keep track of changes in how you feel.
“People who don’t have a history of depression and then, suddenly, start to have symptoms of depression should be concerned that it’s potentially due to a side effect, or potentially, an interaction,” Mordecai says.
It’s also worth having a conversation with your doctor about whether you might be able to stop a medication, Mordecai says. For instance, it may be possible to go off — or reduce — a medication for high blood pressure if you make other changes “such as changing your diet, limiting salt intake, or increasing exercise.”
Use of medications with depression or suicidal thoughts as potential side effects has been on the rise, according to the study’s lead author, Dima Mazen Qato, an assistant professor at the College of Pharmacy of the University of Illinois, Chicago.
“People are not only increasingly using these medicines alone, but are increasingly using them simultaneously, yet very few of these drugs have warning labels, so until we have public or system-level solutions, it is left up to patients and health care professionals to be aware of the risks,” Qato wrote in a release about the study findings.
Qato says physicians may want to consider including evaluations of medications when they screen for depression. “With depression as one of the leading causes of disability and increasing national suicide rates, we need to think innovatively about depression as a public health issue,” Qato writes. She suggests that one strategy to reduce depression rates might be for health care providers to give more thought to the role these medications might play in depression risk.
GINA M. NALITT, M.A., LMFT.
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist in private practice in Carlsbad, CA and San Diego, CA (Hillcrest area). I earned a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, and a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from National University with an emphasis in Marriage and Family
Therapy. Prior to starting my private practice, I was a Mental Health Case Manager and Mental Health Clinician working in Community-Based Mental Healthcare throughout San Diego County. My primary focus is to enhance healthy living for adults currently experiencing a diagnosis of mental illness. This includes working with families and collaborating with the Clients treatment team. I am a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and the California Association for Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT). I offer in- home, in-office, and telehealth counseling sessions to individuals, couples, and families who feel that therapy is the right choice for them.
I utilize tools of cognitive behavioral therapy that focus on clinical applications of mindfulness-based stress reduction. My work incorporates the latest research highlighting the connection between the mind and body, and recognizing the great impact that thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and stress have on health and illness. My passion is supporting people of all ages in enhancing their well-being and discovering a lightness and love that is rooted in humility, grace, and joy. I am an active- duty Navy wife excited to work with Veterans and other members of the Armed-Forces community. I am accepting new clients and offer flexibility in location and appointment times. I accept Tricare insurance and cash pay clients. Please submit an on-line referral at www.helptherapist.com.
CARLOS ALARID, Psy.D.
I specialize in the psychology of men. The focus of my clinical training has been primarily on men experiencing control issues, stress, general sadness, excessive worry, and being easily irritated. During my postdoctoral fellowship, I treated active military who were diagnosed with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and PTSD by conducting both individual and group therapy. Working with active military, I quickly learned how to gain the individual’s trust and confidence to let me into their lives, providing a safe, nonjudgmental space to process life’s events. Much of my studies and research has concentrated on men’s issues. My doctoral dissertation focused on interviewing retired professional male boxers and studying how they adjusted to retirement once the fame and fortune was gone.
In addition to private practice, I am also a bilingual clinical psychologist at UCSD-Family Medicine and UCSD-Internal Medicine where I treat patients experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Being one of the few Spanish- speaking psychologists, I have had the opportunity to treat many Latino males from different cultures and learned to adapt and adjust to each patient’s personality. Making that first call to a psychologist can be difficult, especially for men. Society has bred us to withhold our emotions and “handle it like a man.” I invite you to give me a call at (323) 813-1658.
HANNAH BONDY, LMFT
Hannah earned her Master’s at Azusa Pacific University, graduating in 2015 with a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. During her practicum, she worked at a crisis house serving primarily homeless clients diagnosed with severe mental illness, an environment that led to a deep passion for the TAY (Transition Age Youth-18 to 25 year olds) population and crisis interventions. In order to better understand the challenges that youth face, Hannah worked in a public school district, quickly learning more about public education and advocating for her clients in IEP teams. In May 2017, Hannah joined Center For Discovery, combining her managerial skills and therapy skills in one role. Hannah’s therapeutic approach is fairly simple: meet the client where they are at and work with them to reach their goals. Outside of work, Hannah enjoys practicing yoga, cooking, and traveling.
TINA BURKE, M.A., LMFT.
It takes tremendous courage and strength to reach out for guidance. Each of us has developed a set of beliefs which shape our world. These beliefs influence our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. I am empathic, down-to-earth, and easy to talk to. I am skilled at helping individuals
and couples understand themselves in a new light increasing personal growth, self-discovery, and self- empowerment.
In addition to my education and counseling experience, I have 30 years of business experience. This unique combination of life, business, and counseling experience expands my ability to provide career counseling and life coaching, as well as traditional therapy.
I am an intuitive therapist who looks at each client’s unique needs through therapy. This means that I can pick up on specific issues and adjust my approach to best suit your particular issues. Because of this, I utilize an eclectic theoretical approach drawing from different theories and theorists – whatever works to improve self-efficacy and increase personal growth in the client I am with.
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