New figures released this week have alarming implications for the future health of our nation. Use of ADHD drugs for adults tripled in the past decade among male adults aged 22-44 and doubled for women in the 45-64 year age brackets; use in the over 65 aged population increased 30% for both men and women during this time frame. Last year Americans spent $18.8 billion to treat symptoms of depression and ADHD according to recently released reports from IMS Health, which monitors prescription drug sales. While this may be good for the bottom line of American drug companies it signals an escalating worry regarding the mental health of the American population. TrekDesk’s ‘Movement Revolution’ aims to remind Americans that walking is often a more effective alternative in a large percentage of these cases, without the potentially dangerous side effects.
Granted, American adults are more stressed these days than in recent decades however 20% are now taking antidepressants, anti-anxiety and antipsychotic medications according to figures that were released this week by Medco Health Solutions Inc.
There is a minority movement in this country by physicians and scholars titled “Exercise is Medicine” which needs to be promoted now more than ever. Do we honestly believe that the number of adult males in the US with ADHD spiked three fold in the past decade? That is what these prescription numbers indicate.
Walking has been shown as a much better alternative than medication in many of these cases and in relieving mild/moderate depression symptoms (Harvard Medical School study) as well.
There are numerous studies illustrating that ADHD is over diagnosed and medications are overly prescribed in our society. Most employees do not realize that exercise could replace medications for many of the 8-10% of the population who legitimately suffer from this condition. Walking a minimum of five miles per day, increases the release of neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine, both established components of the brain’s attention system. We need to advance the message that medications should only be used as a last resort not as the physician’s first impulse.