Antidepressant use has risen in richer countries across the world, reports the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Figures show that doctors in countries with more wealth are writing prescriptions for more than one in ten adults. Iceland, Australia, Canada and other European Nordic countries are leading the way, reports the Guardian.
Research from America shown that over 10% of adults use the medication and in China the use of antidepressants has grown by 20% over the last three years.
In the report named, Health at a Glance, The OECD has said that rising consumption levels could be use of antidepressants in milder cases. “These extensions have raised concerns about appropriateness,” it said. It added that the financial crisis may have been a factor in more recent increases in usage.
“We know that antidepressants work for moderate to severe depression,” said Dr Mark van Ommeren, of the World Health Organisation’s department of mental health and substance abuse. “The explosion of antidepressants you see in most countries reflects the fact that lots of people with moderate to severe depression are getting treatment – that’s a good thing. But the negative thing is that a lot of people are getting antidepressants who shouldn’t be getting them. Doctors and healthcare providers should be able to recognise depression correctly so that those who need antidepressants get them and those with only mild cases do not get prescribed.”
Many experts believe that antidepressants are over-prescribed for some people, but underused for others. “Antidepressants are widely oversubscribed to get rid of unhappiness,” said Professor Tim Cantopher, consultant psychiatrist with the Priory Group in the UK. “They were not designed for that. Unhappiness is part of the human condition. But real clinical depression does respond to antidepressants. And not to prescribe in these cases is to sentence an individual to a far longer illness than he or she need suffer.”
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