Researchers at the University of Georgia found that during times of higher unemployment, the use of antidepressant and antianxiety drugs rises. Using 21 years of data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey of Physicians, the researchers found “effects too large to be explained by just those losing their jobs, which suggests recessions have a significant impact much broader than those directly affected by the job loss.” Said one author: “people were not necessarily depressed because they didn’t have a job, but maybe because they were afraid of getting laid off.” The researchers also noted that in areas with higher medical coverage, more people receiving medical assistance may result in more prescriptions for depression.
Bradford, D., Lastrapes, W.; A Prescription for Unemployment? Recessions and the Demand for Mental Health Drugs. Health Economics. Online August 19, 2013. DOI: 10.1002/hec.2983
Of further interest:
Mental Illness Prescriptions Increase During Recession Period: Study (Sunday Times)