Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Psychotropic pills peak before divorce


Discover mag Neuroskeptic reports:
People are almost twice as likely to be taking antidepressants or other psychotropic medication just before getting a divorce.

This striking graph, from a new paper out of Finland, shows the data.

The vertical bar represents the divorce date. The solid curve is the divorcees, and the other two are comparison individuals who were either married throughout the period, or not married at all.

In both the male and the female divorcees, rates of psychotropic use began to climb about four years before the divorce date, peaking a few months before the event.
As usual, it is tricky to deduce the causation from the correlation.

Maybe bad marriages are driving the couples to depression and then divorce.

Maybe the drugs are raising the self-esteem and outlook of depressed spouses, so that they have the courage to file for divorce.

Maybe the drug side effects kill libido, so they divorce when their sex life is no good anymore.

Maybe they stop the pills after the divorce because their are no longer on the spouse's health insurance.

Maybe people seek lifestyle changes that include getting rid of the spouse and the pills.

Maybe squabbling couples foolishly seek marriage counseling, where their complaints get passed off to someone to give them feel-good pills.

Did I miss any possibilities? Maybe you can think of some more.

4 comments:

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Bob Wallace said...

This is very interesting, and I don't know what it means. My experience is that these drugs do not work as advertised. They sometimes drive people nuts. I suspect that may have something to do with the divorces. But, ultimately, I do not know, but hope someone finds out.

Anonymous said...


Im a therapist and while relationship counselling is not my area of expertise, i will say that

1. the majority of anti-depressants are not prescribed in conjunction with therapy.

2. many prescriptions are written by a GP.

3. most people do not get divorced because of a sudden drop off in sex . the libido idea seems flawed.

4. anti depressents can give people focus and energy. it causes people to act so there might be a link between stagnating before using drugs and taking action after.

Jane Santi said...

I have heard stories where the divorce survivors stress that divorce was the lowest point of their lives. There is stress, mental fatigue and at times, depression. Anti-depressants, sleeping pills and alcohol should never be mixed. There are support groups for individuals who seek support.