Americans Still Wary of Psychiatric Meds

According to a new survey, only 29 percent of Americans would use medications to treat hyperactivity in their children.

Saturday April 1st - 12:00am

Americans generally believe that psychiatric drugs are effective, but most are wary of using them for themselves or for their children, a new analysis of survey data shows. Distrust of doctors, media messages, and the stigma of mental illness all contribute to the attitude.

The analysis, conducted by the Indiana Consortium for Mental Health Services Research, found that a slight majority of Americans say they would take medication for panic attacks or depression, but most would refuse them for other conditions. Only 29 percent say they would use medications for hyperactivity in their children.

Bernice A. Pescosolido, Ph.D., the consortium's program director, said that psychiatric medications still carry a social stigma and a fear of negative consequences in applying for school or a job. Messages from the media that such medications are overused also contribute to these attitudes, she said.

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