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Employee Assistance Programs Can Support Employees Using Antidepressants to Reduce Elevated Risk of Death

Posted by Dan Feerst on

Antidepressant medications, most commonly prescribed to reduce depression and anxiety, increase the risk of death, according to new findings by a McMaster-led team of researchers. Researchers reviewed studies involving hundreds of thousands of people and found that antidepressant users had a 33% higher chance of death than non-users. Antidepressant users also had a 14% higher risk of cardiovascular events, such as strokes and heart attacks. Taken by one in eight adult Americans, antidepressants are among the most frequently used medications. They are often prescribed by family doctors without a formal diagnosis of depression, on the assumption they are safe. Since depression itself can be deadly—people with depression are at an increased risk of suicide, stroke and heart attack—many physicians think that antidepressants could save lives by reducing depressive symptoms. The findings were published today in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.

EAP Value-Added: Offer EAP support to employees who use prescribed antidepressant medications. Many employees using antidepressant medication may only visit with the prescribing medical doctor a few times a year or less, and not enough or long enough to identify psychosocial or other evironmental factors associated with risk.

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Daniel Feerst, MSW, LISW-CP
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Publisher 1-800-626-4327

This value-added EAP message is for human resource managers, EAPs, safety, health, and those concerned about maximizing the value of employee assistance programs to 1) Help more employees and family members; 2) retain their full comprehensive value to employers in order to avoid being contracted to inferior referral models that increase risk to employees and organizations; and 3) elevate the profession's visibility, value, and growth.

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