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Psych Drugs Gaining Widespread Acceptance
Date:7/31/2009

But Americans surveyed also expect meds to relieve stress, personal troubles, researchers caution,,,,

FRIDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- A growing number of Americans now have a positive opinion on psychiatric medications, a new study contends.

About five out of six people surveyed felt psychiatric medications could help people control psychiatric symptoms, but many also expected the medications could help people deal with day-to-day stresses, help them feel better about themselves and make things easier with family and friends.

"People's attitudes regarding psychiatric medications became more favorable between 1998 and 2006," said study author Dr. Ramin Mojtabai, an associate professor in the department of mental health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

Mojtabai expressed concern, however, that people's attitudes were increasingly positive, even in situations where there might not be a proven benefit to the drugs.

"My hope would be for people to be more discriminating in their views about the effects of these medications. I would hope they'd be more willing to accept them for treating panic and depression, but not for things like stress," he said.

Results of the study will be published in the August issue of Psychiatric Services.

Mojtabai wanted to assess American's opinions of psychiatric medications for a number of reasons. One is that the use of such medications has soared in recent years. Between 1990 and 2000, he said, the use of antidepressants increased fivefold. Another reason is that the government has allowed direct-to-consumer advertising for the drugs. And finally, he said that he wanted to learn if the recent FDA black box warnings on some antidepressants and antipsychotics had any effect on people's opinions of these drugs.

Using data from the U.S. General Social Surveys from 1998 and 2006, Mojtabai compared the two pe
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