Cultural and economic factors affect European antidepressant use

Cultural and economic factors affect European antidepressant use

Public attitudes towards mental illness and levels of healthcare spending may explain the huge variation in antidepressant use across Europe, according to a new study by researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London.

The study, published today in The British Journal of Psychiatry, found that antidepressants were prescribed more often and used more regularly in countries with higher levels of healthcare spending. In addition, beliefs that people with a mental illness are ‘dangerous’ were associated with higher use, whereas attitudes that they ‘never recover’ or ‘have themselves to blame’ were associated with lower and less regular use of antidepressants.

This research is the first to examine the reasons behind variation in the prescription practices of antidepressants across Europe.

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