The US-based study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that 69% of people taking anti-depressants did not meet the criteria for prescribing major depressive disorder, also known as clinical depression.
“Many individuals prescribed anti-depressants may not have met the criteria for mental disorders,” the researchers said. “Our data indicates that anti-depressants are commonly used in the absence of clear evidence-based indications,” they said.
Anti-depressants are also prescribed for other psychiatric disorders. But the researchers found 38% of those taking the drugs did not meet the criteria for obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social phobia or generalised anxiety disorder either, media reports said.
The researchers used data from the Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) Study Wave 1 (1981) through Wave 4 (2004-2005) and assessed lifetime prevalence of common mood and anxiety disorders among participants who reported current anti-depressant use.
They also examined factors associated with current anti-depressant use.