Who's responsible for the antidepressant frenzy that's led to 10 percent of all Americans taking these dangerous meds?
If you guessed shrinks, you're only partly right. Fact is, there's been a stunning rise in the number of non-psychiatrists dishing out mood drugs.
The worst part about it is that they're not just prescribing them for depression. Family doctors are giving these meds out as a cure-all for practically everything under the sun.
A recent study found that the number of family doctors and other non-shrinks prescribing antidepressants more than doubled between 1996 and 2007, from 4 percent to 9 percent.
At the same time, the number of antidepressants given without any mental diagnosis at all -- no depression, no anxiety, none of it -- shot up at an even faster rate, from 2.5 percent to 6.4 percent, according to the study in Health Affairs.
Doctors were prescribing them for conditions like smoking, sexual dysfunction, sleep disorders and more -- despite the fact that they're approved for exactly none of those conditions.
Not only that, but long-term antidepressant use has been linked to sex problems and sleep disorders. Talk about ironic!
And while those drugs won't do much for you, they can do plenty to you. Studies have linked long-term antidepressant use to weight gain, diabetes, cognitive decline, and cataracts... not to mention some pretty serious withdrawal issues when you eventually do stop taking them.
But what's even worse than what we know about these drugs is what we don't. There's simply not enough research out there on the long-term use of antidepressants.
Or, as lead researcher Dr. Ramin Mojtabai of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore told HealthDay News: "Pharmaceutical companies aren't interested in long-term effects because they don't need that for FDA approval."
Ain't that the truth.