Antidepressant prescriptions in the UK have increased by 9.6% in 2011, to 46 million prescriptions. Does this reflect overmedicalisation or appropriate treatment? Two experts debate the issue on bmj.com today.
Glasgow GP, Dr Des Spence, thinks that "we use antidepressants too easily, for too long, and that they are effective for few people (if at all)"
He acknowledges that depression is an important illness, but argues that the current definition of clinical depression (two weeks of low mood — even after bereavement) "is too loose and is causing widespread medicalisation." He also points out that 75% of those who write these definitions have links to drug companies.
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines do not support the use of antidepressant medication in mild depression, nor necessarily as first line treatment of moderate depression. Instead, they promote talking therapies.
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Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education