By Sarah Riedel,CNNCNN.com”My doctor gave me a prescription for Prozac, but I haven’t been able to take it,” says John, 47, who has been taking the medication since he was a teen.
“I just want to get a better sleep.”
A growing number of Americans are using prescription drugs to cope with anxiety and depression, but they’re not being prescribed to everyone.
“I’m not sure if this is something that’s in the mainstream or if it’s a trend that’s just emerging,” says Dr. Stephen Miller, a psychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco.
Miller is a frequent contributor to CNN Health.
His research focuses on how anxiety and anxiety disorders affect the brain.
He also is a co-author of a book, “The Neurobiological Basis of Anxiety Disorder.”
In addition to taking antidepressants and antipsychotics, many of us also take anti-inflammatory medications and antifungal creams to treat fungal infections, Miller says.
Some of the medications that are used to treat anxiety and other mental health conditions are also being prescribed by doctors to help people deal with the drug rush of the new year, Miller warns.
“The demand for these medications is really huge and the prices are going up,” he says.
In some cases, doctors are getting calls from patients wanting to buy the medication for free.
“It’s a very lucrative business,” he said.
In recent years, the pharmaceutical industry has been able buy up to 85 percent of the prescription drug market.
The number of prescriptions written for prescription drugs rose more than 70 percent between 2014 and 2015, according to a study by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
The study found that prescriptions for drugs such as Xanax and Paxil were up by more than 20 percent in that time period.
“We know that prescription drug prices have gone up dramatically, so I don’t think it’s surprising that there is demand for prescription medication,” Miller says, adding that some of that demand has been driven by patients seeking relief from their chronic mental illness.
“There are a lot of patients who are asking for the relief that these drugs provide and it’s not just people who are suffering from mental health issues, it’s people who have substance use issues or addiction issues,” he added.
Experts agree that many of the drugs being prescribed are effective in treating a variety of mental health disorders, but there are some that aren’t.
The top two drugs on the list are Zoloft, an antidepressant, and Prozac.
Zoloft is used to manage depression and anxiety, but it’s also prescribed to treat other disorders.
“Many of the people I see in the emergency room are getting this drug because they’ve been prescribed Zoloven and have a high fever, but if the fever has subsided, then the doctor says it’s probably the drug to see,” Miller said.
The drug is commonly prescribed to help treat chronic pain and to treat insomnia.
“Zoloven is not a good drug to treat chronic illness because it does not address underlying issues,” Miller explained.
“If you’re not getting relief from your pain, you’re at greater risk for heart disease, stroke, and other complications,” Miller added.
Many people who use Zoloads say they can feel better, but Miller says that’s a myth.
“People are being told that Zolose is better than Paxil because it helps you sleep, it makes you feel better and it reduces anxiety,” he explained.
He says Zolovod is similar to Prozac in that it helps with depression and that it can relieve symptoms of PTSD and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“This drug is better for some people than others, but you can’t tell people which one they’re better off taking because there’s no data that shows a difference between Zolox and Prozolozol,” Miller continued.
“You can take Zoloverd and you’re better, or you can take Prozac and you can be better, and it just depends on how much you need it.”
The list of top 10 prescription drugs for the first half of 2016 was compiled by CNN Health from research by the Center for Behavioral Health Services, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The data was reviewed by CNN to determine which medications were most frequently prescribed and to determine the average price of each drug, as well as the percent of prescriptions that were written for each type of prescription drug.