The latest health ‘snapshot’ of the 33 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) nations has revealed that Australia is now the second-highest prescriber of anti-depressant medications.
Australian use of anti-depressants has doubled over the last decade – Iceland is the only country that has a higher rate of the use of the drugs – and several health experts say doctors are under pressure and over-prescribing.
Professor Philip Mitchell, the Head of the University of New South Wales School of Psychiatry, says it indicates that over-prescription of the drugs is now a problem in Australia.
Audio: Anti-depressant rates double in a decade (AM)
“This concerns me that this is too much. We know that for milder levels of depression that psychological treatment, psychological therapy [is] very effective, and in Australia we do have a system for this through the better-access scheme, so it surprises me that the rates are continuing to go up,” he said.
According to the report, the rates of anti-depressant prescriptions in Australia appear to have doubled between 2000 and 2011