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28 Oct, 2022 20:52

Use of psychiatric drugs soars in Russia

Spending on antidepressants was up 70% over last year, while purchases of sedatives also increased
Use of psychiatric drugs soars in Russia

Russians are spending significantly more money on psychiatric drugs this year over last, according to data published by the Center for the Development of Advanced Technologies (CRPT) and reported by TASS on Friday.

The increase in consumption correlates with a surge in anxiety, with nearly two in three Russians reporting last month that they had been experiencing such feelings.

Spending on antidepressants is up 70% for the first nine months of 2022 for a total of 5 billion rubles going toward purchasing the drugs, CRPT data show. This translates to a 48% increase in yearly consumption, with 8.4 million packs bought in the first nine months of 2022. Domestic production of antidepressants has increased 24% since last year to keep up with demand, while imports have jumped 42%.

Russian spending on sedatives is also up, climbing 56% over last year, with 13.9 billion rubles spent in total, according to CRPT. That equates to a 44% uptick in consumption, for a total of 108 million packages of sedatives purchased from January through September. Domestic production increased 21% to meet the increased demand, though imports actually declined by 12%.

This surge in pill-popping is unsurprising, given that nearly two-thirds – 63% – of respondents to a survey conducted last week by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) said the prevailing mood among their relatives, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances was “anxious.”

The same organization found last month that a record 70% of Russians reported anxiety in their surroundings amid the announcement of “partial mobilization” to fight in Ukraine. 

Russians are not the only ones taking more antidepressants than ever. An estimated one in six Americans take the drugs, and the US saw a jump of 21% in antidepressant, anti-anxiety, and sleeping pill prescriptions in the first two months of the Covid-19 pandemic, with no indication that those patients have stopped taking the drugs since.

Among OECD countries, Iceland is the biggest pill popper, with an average of 16 daily antidepressant doses consumed per 100 inhabitants as of last year.

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