Antidepressants are prescribed too easily, despite the fact that they benefit only a small percentage of people, a GP has suggested.
Dr Des Spence, who practises in Glasgow, wrote in the British Medical Journal: "Millions of people are enduring at least six months of ineffective treatment."
He claims a recent review of studies into depression medication "suggests that only one in seven people actually benefits" from taking antidepressants.
And he cited the updated version of psychiatrists' handbook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, as misleading, since it "suggests defining two weeks of low mood as 'clinical depression', irrespective of circumstance".
He also argued that such definitions were written by those with "links to drug companies", adding: "Mental illness is the drug industry's golden goose: incurable, common, long term, and involving multiple medications."
According to The Telegraph, Ian Reid, of Aberdeen University, defended the use of antidepressants on bmj.com, insisting they "are not overprescribed".
The professor of psychiatry said: "Antidepressants are but one element available in the treatment of depression, not a panacea... Careless reportage has demonised them in the public eye, adding to the stigmatisation of mental illness, and erecting unnecessary barriers to effective care."
Have you been prescribed antidepressants? Did you find them effective and do you feel that they were prescribed too easily? Leave your comments below...