At any point approximately 10% of women and 7% of men are estimated to be suffering from a depressive disorder. Up to 30% of people suffer from a depressive disorder at some point in their life with around 18% experiencing chronic symptoms. Long-term use of antidepressants is beneficial for those who experience recurring depression or where there has been a prolonged, severe and disabling episode. However, little is known about the long-term use of antidepressants in general-practice settings. A study of 92 patients taking antidepressants long-term from 12 GP practices in Tayside, Scotland, found that 57.6% of them did not meet the criteria for any psychiatric diagnosis. Independent clinical assessments based upon diagnoses and other clinical data indicated that 31% of the participants had no clear clinical reason for continuing to take antidepressants.
Cruickshank, Gillian ... [et al] - Cross-sectional survey of patients in receipt of long-term repeat prescriptions for antidepressant drugs in primary care Mental Health in Family Medicine 2008, 5(2), 105-109