Public views on antidepressant treatment: Lessons from a national survey

Engilbert Sigurdsson*, Thórdís Ólafsdóttir, Magnús Gottfredsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


In Iceland, antidepressant sales figures rose from 8 Defined Daily Doses (DDD) per 1000 subjects in 1975 to 95 DDD/1000 in 2005. The aim of the study was to examine the views of adult Icelanders on antidepressant treatment and to identify the factors most influential in shaping their views, using cross-sectional national survey of views on antidepressant treatment in a randomly drawn sample of 2000 Icelanders aged 18-80 years old. Nine in 10 responders believed that regular exercise is an efficacious treatment for depression (92.6%) but supportive interviews came second (82.3%). Seven out of 10 believed that antidepressants are efficacious and the same proportion was willing to use antidepressants as a treatment for depression. The strongest predictor of this inclination was previous use of antidepressants (odds ratio, OR=6.9, 95% CI 3.4-13.8), followed by knowing someone well who had been treated with antidepressants (OR = 2.3, 95% CI 1.6 to 3.3). Eight out of every 100 responders were taking antidepressants and further 8.3% had previously been on antidepressants for at least 6 weeks. Among past users of antidepressants, 77% felt that the benefits of therapy had outweighed the disadvantages. More knowledge on antidepressants was associated (chi-squared test = 9.96, df = 2, P = 0.007) with willingness to use them. The majority of adult Icelanders are willing to use antidepressants for depression. The factors influencing their views most strongly are subjects' own experience and the experience of close friends or relatives as users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-378
Number of pages5
JournalNordic Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements*We thank Ragnar Friðrik Ólafsson, Jónína Helga Ólafsdóttir, Ólafur Adolfsson, Ólöf Thórhallsdóttir and Páll Ólafsson for their help with various aspects of this work and acknowledge financial support from the LSH University Hospital Research Fund, Wyeth’s Mental Health Research Fund, Lilly, Wyeth, Lundbeck A/S, Delta ehf. and GlaxoSmithKline.

Other keywords

  • Antidepressants
  • Depression
  • Population-based
  • Survey
  • Treatment


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