More Americans Using Prescription Drugs for Mental Illnesses
Seventy-three percent more adults and 50 percent more kids were using prescription medications to treat mental illness in 2006 than in 1996, according to a new study published in the journal Health Affairs . For people over age 65, the use of psychotropic medicines, including Alzheimer's drugs, antidepressants, and antipsychotics, doubled from 1996 to 2006, Reuters reports. These increases are probably due to wider insurance coverage of these drugs and a better understanding of the medications by primary-care physicians, the study's lead author, Sherry Glied of Columbia University, told Reuters. The study was based on data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Center for Health Statistics, the Social Security Administration, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The need for mental-health treatment is great, but health coverage for these disorders often falls far short. Consider these 6 ways to get affordable mental-health coverage, and try this advice for protecting your child's mental health. Plus, here's how to cope with depression when drugs fail to work.
David Kessler on Why We're Prone to Eating Too Much
For almost all of us, there's at least one food that we can't help but overeat. For David Kessler, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (and foe of the tobacco industry), it was the dumplings in the food court of the San Francisco International Airport. His investigation into why otherwise sane, self-assured, competent people like himself lose their will in the face of dumplings, Chili's latest dessert concoction, or dark chocolate M&Ms encompassed the chemistry of modern food production and the newest discoveries of neuroscience, writes Katherine Hobson. In The End of Overeating (Rodale, $25.95), Kessler argues that the extraordinarily high levels of salt, fat, and sugar in the American diet reward our brains and thus encourage us to overeat.
Being Bullied Linked to Future Psychiatric Problems
Children who are repeatedly bullied are twice as likely to have psychotic symptoms as children who aren't abused, Nancy Shute reports. And the more they're victimized, the more likely they are to have psychiatric problems, including hallucinations, delusions, and thought disorders. This is depressing news, but there's also a ray of hope. Mental-health experts increasingly think many serious mental problems can be prevented if children are given appropriate help. So if parents realize early on that their child is being bullied, intervention may help stave off lifelong trouble.
—January W. Payne
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