Antidepressant Usage by Country

Antidepressants, used to treat depression, generalized anxiety disorders, phobias and many other psychological disorders are among the most widely used medicines.  In the 2016 report, Health at A Glance, the Organization for Economic Co‑operation and Development released a wealth of data that included pharmaceutical usage statistics in many of the member countries.  The OECD usage data show that Iceland is the largest consumer of antidepressants at 118 daily doses per 1,000 persons, Figure 1.  These usage units, 'daily doses per 1,000 persons', is roughly equitable with persons taking antidepressants, and thus about 11.8% of Icelandic folks take antidepressants.   Unfortunately, the United States was not included in the data set.  Center for Disease Control data from 2011, put U.S. antidepressant use at 10.8%.  The CDC looked at usage stats from 2005-2008 and saw a 400% increase in antidepressant usage in the U.S. population.  The OECD data can also be queried to produce percent change statistics.  Among the surveyed OECD countries, Estonia and the United Kingdom experienced the greatest 5-year (2010-2014) increases in antidepressant usage, but all experienced much smaller increases than the 400% increase experienced in the U.S.


Figure 1: Reflects daily antidepressant doses in OECD countries.

Figure 2: Reflects 5-yr change in daily antidepressant doses in OECD countries.


Samuel Bennett is a hobby data analyst, teacher and an elite MTB racer.  He can be reached here.