A new study published on the Journals of Clinical Psychiatry has concluded that, among sampled patients, almost 70% of them make unnecessary use of antidepressant medications.

According to the publication, “many individuals who are prescribed and use antidepressant medications may not have met criteria for mental disorders.” The study explains that data collected during the study show that antidepressant medication are used often without having clear evidence that the patient presents symptoms of depression.

The study says that among antidepressant users two-thirds never met the criteria that must be fulfilled during diagnosis for them to be using such pharmaceuticals.

Additionally, 38% of those people who participated in the study never met criteria for “Major Depressive Disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, or generalized anxiety disorder in their lifetime.”

The study states that facts such as being female, Caucasian, recently suffering from physical problems and recent visits to mental health facilities were some of the reasons why two-thirds of patients began using medications to treat depression and other alleged mental health disorders.

“Using data from the Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) Study Wave 1 (1981) through Wave 4 (2004–2005) (N = 1,071), we assessed lifetime prevalence of common mood and anxiety disorders according to DSM-III and DSM-III-R criteria, based on 4 interviews, among participants who reported current antidepressant use. Furthermore, we examined factors associated with current antidepressant use.”

Along with this new study, earlier examination of antidepression medication use showed not only that patients do not present any sign of depression, but also that they never had such signs in the past. “We examined the prevalence of mental disorders, assessed prospectively over multiple interviews, among individuals currently using antidepressants in a community sample,” explains the author of the study.

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