New research suggests that having an Sos prescription can be associated with a higher risk of mental health issues.
The findings were published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study was led by researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia.
“The finding is particularly interesting because it shows a potential link between the presence of a prescription and an increased risk of depression,” Dr. David R. Wray, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University, said in a statement.
“Previous studies have shown that prescription-only medicines are associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
This new study suggests that prescription medications can also have an adverse impact on mental health.”
The study involved 6,000 adults from the New South Wales Health Insurance Scheme, aged between 20 and 64, who were interviewed online over a six-month period.
The survey included questions about their health history, medications they were prescribed and their current mental health.
The participants also completed questionnaires on mental illness, substance use and use of prescription medications.
Researchers then analyzed data from the participants’ self-reported data and found that people who had been prescribed Sos were also more likely to report depression and anxiety, compared to those who did not have an Sosh prescription.
A link between prescription medications and mental illness?
“These findings are consistent with previous studies that have shown the use of psychiatric medication is associated with mental health and substance use disorders,” Dr Wray said.
“It’s also consistent with what is known about the relationship between prescription drugs and mental illnesses.
We know that people with psychiatric disorders are more likely than those without to report any adverse mental health effects of prescription drugs.”
The researchers believe that people may have different levels of mental illness because of differences in the medication they take, or because they are more or less dependent on a prescription drug, or that they use it in addition to their usual medication, such as for weight loss.
The new study does not examine the causal mechanisms that could explain the link between mental illness and prescription medications, but the researchers said their results could help inform clinical trials.
“Although the causal pathways for mental illness in people are complex, the fact that we can identify a significant association between prescription medication use and mental distress raises the possibility that there is a biological basis for mental disorders and other mental health conditions,” Dr R.M. Wainwright, an associate professor of medicine at the Centre for Mental Health Research at the New York University Langone Medical Center, who was not involved in the research, said.
The researchers also found that there was a positive association between Sosh prescriptions and depression and substance misuse, but only for men.
“These results suggest that individuals with higher levels of psychiatric illness may have a greater need for psychiatric medications, which may in turn lead to a greater risk of developing mental illness,” Dr J.J. Strain, a psychiatrist at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said of the findings.
The research was funded by the NSW Department of Health.
A searchable database of Sos prescriptions can be found here.