Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Medicalising unhappiness

Increased prescription of antidepressants shows correction of inadequate duration of treatment of depression

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 21 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g228
  1. Ian Reid, professor of psychiatry1,
  2. Isobel Cameron, lecturer in mood disorders1,
  3. Steve MacGillivray, senior lecturer in evidence synthesis2
  1. 1Royal Cornhill Hospital, Division of Applied Medicine, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB25 2ZH, UK
  2. 2Social Dimensions of Health Institute, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK
  1. i.reid{at}

Godlee draws attention to the Organisation for Economic Co-ordination and Development’s report that “the world’s rich nations have doubled their use of antidepressants in the past 10 years” and links this with Dowrick and Frances’ opinion piece “medicalising unhappiness” to suggest that antidepressants are being used inappropriately.1 2 3 Hence her advice: “Don’t keep taking the tablets.”

However, the raw prescription data reported tell us nothing about the appropriateness …

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