The most concentration of antidepressants by country between 2016 and 2020 comes from Iceland, Portugal, Canada, Australia and Sweden. Spain and Germany also have seen a rise in the use of these medications.
The United States wasn’t included in some of the original studies on antidepressants. However, it turns out as of 2016 that the U.S. has about 110 users of them per capita at least by 2016. The usage of antidepressants spiked after 2019, not just in the U.S. but around the world.
In 2021, a report states that twice as many people in the United Kingdom began “living with depression” during the pandemic. Two years before this (2019), social isolation and loneliness led to increased depression cases taking place from that time until 2022.
People most affected around the world by depression are those prone to depression in the first place. For instance, they may have already been diagnosed with a major depressive disorder. Others may have developed this condition because their circumstances put them at risk of falling into it.
In the case of circumstantial depression, some people end up this way after losing a spouse, pet or a job. Any major life change that disrupts a person’s life causes it. With this in mind, the Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020 would be enough drastic change for anyone to have developed depression for the first time.
Experiencing depression doesn’t mean that people need to be on antidepressants. However, many people with circumstantial depression have taken it at least temporarily.
Global Depression Facts
Increases in depression did not start with the 2020 pandemic like some people might assume. In 2016, Germany had already experienced a 46% rise in antidepressant use in four years. Portugal and Spain had at least a 20% increase in the usage of medication to combat depression.
People using medication for depression during this time included people as young as 12 years old. However, there’s also one-third of people in the U.S. who never used an antidepressant even if they were depressed. On the other hand, 60% of Americans who take antidepressants took them for at least two years.
Attitudes Toward Depression
Not everyone in the world views depression the same way. A striking example is in Korea, where the suicide rate is said to be the highest in the developed world. Unlike in the U.S., most Koreans wouldn’t seek mental health treatment at this time.
As of 2022, a report indicates that Portugal is one country where the depression stigma was the highest. On the other hand, they also rated high in openness for seeking help with this condition.