Are antidepressants overprescribed?

From ABC Health, 18 September 2014:

For a condition as complex, poorly understood and stigmatised as depression, it should come as no surprise that one of the major treatments – antidepressants – suffers the same problems.

Those who are most likely to benefit are often reluctant to take antidepressants, while those less likely to benefit are often given them due to a lack of more suitable alternatives.

One thing is clear – we are taking antidepressants in greater quantities than ever before. A 2013 OECD report showed Australia to be second-biggest consumer of antidepressants in the OECD, second only to Iceland, with 89 adults per 1000 taking the drugs compared to 71 in the United Kingdom, and an average of 56 across all OECD nations.

Between 2000 and 2011, antidepressant use in Australia increased by a staggering 95.3 per cent, according to one study.

Yet there is also evidence that depression is undertreated. A 2009 survey found only around one-third of people who met the criteria for a mental disorder made use of mental health services. Read more.

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