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Despite Paxil Side Effects, Eleven Percent of Americans Use Antidepressants

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Washington, DCThe number of people in the US who used antidepressants is twice as many as those who go to movie theaters once per week, as 11 percent of Americans take the medication, despite potential dangers like Paxil side effects, according to Scripps Howard News Service.

Data released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in November showed that 11 percent of Americans ages 12 and older used Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil or other antidepressants, the news source reported.

Women were prescribed the pills more than men, according to national surveys that asked individuals over a four-year period ending in 2008 if they had taken the medication in the last month. Caucasians used more than minorities and younger people used less than older respondents, according to the news source.

The most common consumers of the medication were women aged 40 to 49. Of these women, 22.8 percent said they took antidepressants and nearly 19 percent of women 60 and older used the medicine.

"I think it's a disturbing thing that so many people are feeling like things are bad enough that a long-term medication makes sense," Dr. Josephine Soliz, a family doctor in Oxnard, California, told the news source. "I think it likely also reflects the fact that sometimes mental health services don't really serve the walking wounded. It's pretty hard to get first-rate mental health services if you're depressed but not suicidal."

According to the news source, psychiatrists and other experts have argued over whether the medications are most effective for people deep in the midst of depression or equally valuable for moderate conditions.

ThirdAge.com reported that despite the fact that 11 percent of Americans take antidepressants, the CDC said the study may have actually reflected an underuse of the medications. According to the organization, only one in three people with symptoms of severe depression, such as constant fatigue or suicidal thoughts, are taking the drugs.

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