Antidepressant Use in Black and White Populations in the United States


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Abstract

ObjectiveThe study objective was to estimate the prevalence and correlates of antidepressant use by black and white Americans.MethodsData from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (CPES) were analyzed to calculate nationally representative estimates of past-year antidepressant use by black and white Americans ages 18 years and older (N=9,723).ResultsAmong individuals with depressive and anxiety disorders in the past year (N=516), black respondents (14.6%) had significantly lower (p<.001) antidepressant use than white respondents (32.4%). Depression severity was significantly associated with higher antidepressant use for white but not for black respondents. Psychiatric disorders and vascular disease significantly increased the odds of past-year antidepressant use. The increased prevalence of antidepressant use associated with vascular disease was independent of diagnosable psychiatric disorders. Among respondents not meeting criteria for depressive and anxiety disorders in the past year, lifetime depressive and anxiety disorders and vascular disease significantly increased the odds of antidepressant use.ConclusionsFew white and fewer black Americans with depressive and anxiety disorders received antidepressant treatment. Higher depression severity was associated with more antidepressant use for white but not for black respondents. Antidepressant use was associated with medical conditions related to vascular disease, and these medical conditions were independent of coexisting psychiatric conditions. The results also indicate that many antidepressants are used for maintenance pharmacotherapy for depressive and anxiety disorders as well as common medical conditions associated with vascular disease.

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