1 in 3 Americans Consider Anxiety/Depression Medication if Lockdowns Extend
Lockdown Jitters: 1 in 3 Americans would consider prescription anxiety/depression medication if lockdowns are extended.
- Alabamians are least likely to consider prescription anxiety/depression medication during lockdown, while Wyomingites are most likely.
- Expert advice on how to manage your mental health during lockdown.
A survey of 3,193 Americans in quarantine by American Addiction Centers, a leading provider of substance abuse treatment resources, revealed that 37% would consider taking prescription medication to treat their anxiety/depression if lockdown is extended. Broken down across the country, this figure was found to be lowest in Alabama (19%) and highest in Wyoming with 57% considering medication.
You can see the full set of results by state here:
State % Who Would Consider
As part of our overall mental health, it is recommended that we spend sufficient time outdoors each day away from our home or office desk to enjoy the fresh air. Studies show that being outside and away from a device screen contributes towards positive mental wellbeing, general health, improved stress levels and decreased blood pressure. However, diminishing the spread of COVID-19 resulted in nationwide social distancing orders and greatly limited time spent outdoors. As a result, many employees have had to adapt to working in their home environment, which brings its own set of challenges. Being confined indoors in the midst of a global pandemic, though for the greater good, can be both stress-inducing and detrimental to our mental wellbeing, leading some of us to take another look at the way we manage feelings of anxiety and depression.
Studies found that 1 in 10 Americans had taken some form of antidepressant medication before the pandemic started, and that more than 60% of those who take antidepressants have taken them for two years or more.
Abuse of antidepressants can occur if a user does not feel the drug is working fast enough and they decide to increase their prescribed dose without a doctor’s recommendation. In some cases, users even combine antidepressants with other substances, such as alcohol, in an attempt to amplify the effects of the medication. Alcohol is one of the most common substances combined with antidepressants, despite the fact that doctors recommend avoiding it while on a course of antidepressant drugs. When combined with antidepressants, it can result in severe consequences to your physical and mental health, including:
- Exacerbated depression or anxiety.
- Difficulty concentrating
- Dangerously high blood pressure.
It can be difficult to detect if someone is abusing antidepressants as there are fewer negative symptoms than with typical substance abuse. Antidepressants aren’t addictive in the same way that substances like alcohol and heroin are, and do not result in feelings of euphoria for the user or cause them to exhibit addictive behavior.
Signs of an antidepressant overdose can include any or all of the following:
- Involuntary eye movement.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Impaired coordination.
- Uncontrollable shaking.
Dr. Lawrence Weinstein from American Addiction Centers said; “It is very important that if you are taking anti-depressants or anxiety medications that you stick with the prescribed dosage. Increasing the amount you are taking daily without consent from your doctor is not recommended and can lead to a physical dependence on the drugs. At American Addiction Centers, we unfortunately see many patients every month who have become very dependent on benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Valium and Ativan, and whose lives have been affected negatively by this dependence.”