Antidepressants are the new Alcohol

This is kinda interesting. According to a study by University of North Dakota psychologists Holly Dannewitz and Tom Petros, people taking prescription antidepressants appear to drive worse than people who aren't taking such drugs. Furthermore, depressed people on antidepressants have even more trouble concentrating and reacting behind the wheel.

I wonder if MAD is going to jump on this. Given how many middle aged women are on antidepressants, that might not be in their best interests. According to the study, 1 in 10 adult women in the USA is on some form of antidepressant. That's hard to believe!

In any case, the study recruited 60 people to participate in a driving simulation in which participants had to make a series of common driving decisions while being distracted by speed limit signs, pylons, animals, other cars, et cetera. Thirty-one of the participants were taking at least one type of antidepressant while 29 control group members were taking no medications with the exception of oral contraceptives in some cases.

The group taking antidepressants was further divided into those who scored higher and lower on a test of depression. The group taking antidepressants who reported a high number of symptoms of depression performed significantly worse than the control group on several of the driving performance tasks. But participants who were taking antidepressants and scored in the normal range on a test to measure depression performed no differently than the non-medicated individuals.

So it would seem that it's not the meds causing the driving problems but the depression itself. The drugs just happen to be taken by depressed folk. Kinda makes you wonder why they titled their study in a way that makes it seem like the antidepressant drugs are the causative factor, huh?


Into the Light said…
This shouldn't be a surprise. Depression makes it hard to do most things well. However, it's good to know that the drug isn't causing even more traffic problems since so many apparently are taking them. I have to dispute the 1 in 10 adult women taking anti-depressants though... That seems way to high. I might agree regarding a certain age group as it seems anti-depressants are handed out as a cure all sometimes. (As in "let's see if this helps first") And perhaps I'd go along with "1 in 10 adult women will have taken anti-depressants at some time in their lifetime", but NOT 1 in 10 at any given time. Maybe we could take a poll here and you can report back some results?
Utopia said…
Finally, an explanation for all my vehicle debacles over the past 6 years!
Bob-kat said…
It does seem like a misnomer. The result really doesn't surprise me. Depressed people are more introspective and therefore far more likely to have their attention diverted by what is going on in their head, whether they are going over things that are bothering them or just struggling with those depressed feelings.

Einstein used to keep several versions of the same suit in his closet as he said it saved him wasting mental energy on deciding what to wear. We actually have a finite amount of mental capacity (as you probably know being a science man) and so being defpressed actually can take up a large amount of this mental capacity. I can't cite anything I'm afraid but I am sure I remember this from my psychology studies.
kenju said…
Did they have an agenda?

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