Prescriptions for mental health medications hiked during COVID-19

Antidepressant prescriptions climbed 8.7 percent since 2019, but some age groups fronted more of the burden, according to The New York Times.

In 2017, 313,665,918 prescriptions were written for antidepressants in the U.S. Four years later, the number rose to 337,054,544, according to pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts. The rate of change is a steady increase, but the data is skewed toward prescriptions for teenagers, which surged 41 percent during that period. 

The number of anxiety medications for teenagers also rose, with a 17.3 percent increase since 2017. 

Healthcare organizations and children's hospitals declared a mental health crisis among children and teens in November 2021, and the weight of the pandemic has often been attributed to the problem, whether it's because of delayed care or the age group being yanked from schools. 

A 13-year-old in Colorado who has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder said it was difficult to learn remotely. In addition to taking Adderall for ADHD, she began taking the antidepressant Paxil.

"It just felt like one of those days where you sit at home and you don't do anything. It felt like that was every day, like I was stuck in some endless cycle of sitting in one place," she told the Times. "For me, everything felt a lot more pointless. It didn't feel like I was in school — I just felt like I was in a dream. So I didn't feel like I needed to do my assignments, because I didn't feel like anything I did at that time actually mattered."

Read the full story here.

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