Recession and rise in antidepressant prescriptions

Apr 11, 2011

Over the past four years there was a 43 percent increase in prescriptions for antidepressants. Some news outlets attribute this rise to the recession. People more depressed equals more drugs. Ben Goldacre of Bad Science explains why said outlets need to be more careful with their analyses.

From what I can tell, all the reports took an aggregate (the 43 percent) and then made a big assumption to explain it. I’m all for data journalism, but statistics is rarely that straightforward.

2 Comments

  • Why are all kinds of prescription drug sales going up? Because we have them – they are promoted and many people lead unhealthy lifestyles that lead to health problems.

  • I like how you linked to Ben Goldacre – without his blog I would have probably ended up believing stupid health advice newspapers and television gives.

    This is the usual error that is made so many times. Correlation does not equal causation! Or even finding a correlation and randomly adding a cause to it.

Favorites

One Dataset, Visualized 25 Ways

“Let the data speak” they say. But what happens when the data rambles on and on?

This is an American Workday, By Occupation

I simulated a day for employed Americans to see when and where they work.

Divorce and Occupation

Some jobs tend towards higher divorce rates. Some towards lower. Salary also probably plays a role.

Real Chart Rules to Follow

There are rules—usually for specific chart types meant to be read in a specific way—that you shouldn’t break. When they are, everyone loses. This is that small handful.