Medicated to Death?
Americans are increasingly prescribed medications that help them get more sleep, feel less stress and have more energy to accomplish a seemingly endless list of daily tasks. But is this really a good thing? Let’s take a look at how overmedication can be affecting our health.
State of Health
How much medication are we taking, and why?
Nearly 7 in 10
Americans who take at least one prescription drug (1)
1 in 5
People who take five or more prescriptions (1)
Americans affected by chronic pain (2)
Proportion of the world’s painkillers consumed in the United States (3)
1 in 4
American adults who are unhappy with their sleep patterns (4)
Prescriptions Americans filled for sleeping pills in 2011, up from 47 million in 2006 (5)
4 in 5
Americans prescribed antibiotics each year (6)
The Risks of Overmedication
People who become addicted to benzodiazepines (like some sleeping pills or anxiety medication) after taking them daily for more than 6 weeks (7)
Every 19 minutes, a person dies from prescription drug overdose (3)
Annual number of drug-resistant bacterial infections in the U.S. (8)
Causes of Overmedication?
Every patient is different, but some common themes emerge in considering potential overmedication:
- Increase in chronic conditions, like heart disease and diabetes
- Rapidly aging population, which means more people need to take medications
- Cost of expensive testing vs. prescription costs