A new study that has been carried out in the USA claims that as many as two thirds of patients who are on anti-depressants may not actually have depression.
The study looked at patients who were taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) which is the most commonly prescribed anti-depressant. This is usually the first choice of medication for depression and other psychiatric conditions because they generally have fewer side effects than other types of anti-depressants.
The research found that an unbelievable 69% of those who were examined did not meet the criteria for clinical depression. Although anti-depressants are also prescribed for other psychiatric disorders, 38% did not meet the criteria for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, social phobia or generalised anxiety disorder either.
Commenting on the findings, the Medical Director of the Addiction Consultation Service at Montefiore Medical Centre, Dr Howard Forman said:
“We all experience periods of stress, sadness and self-doubt. This doesn’t make us mentally ill, they define us as human.”
Prescriptions for anti-depressants have more than trebled since 1998 and figures show that Iceland has the highest prescription rate with 106 doses a day for every 1,000 inhabitants. Behind Iceland is Australia and then Canada, Denmark, Sweden and Portugal. The countries with the lowest levels of people who are currently taking anti-depressants is Chile and South Korea.
If you are worried that you or someone you know could be suffering with stress, depression or anxiety, please feel free to visit our Depression and Anxiety Treatment Programme Page for more information about the symptoms and treatments that are available. You can also speak to our enquiries team to find out more about our treatments and get help today.