Survey of New Zealanders’ experiences of antidepressan
First survey of New Zealanders’ experiences of antidepressants
10 July 2012
The first survey to ask New Zealanders about their experiences with antidepressants has been launched by researchers from the Department of Psychology at The University of Auckland, and the research team is encouraging people to take part.
Depression is identified by the World Health Organisation as a leading cause of disability worldwide. In New Zealand, the lifetime prevalence for ‘mood disorders’ – of which the vast majority are diagnoses of major depression – is around 20 per cent. There has been steady growth in prescribing rates for antidepressants internationally in recent years, and in New Zealand about one in 11 adults are prescribed anti-depressants every year. While there is debate amongst researchers and clinicians about the relative merits of antidepressants, little is known about how the people who are prescribed the drugs actually experience them.
“Our approach positions the people who are prescribed antidepressants as the experts,” explains one of the researchers Dr Kerry Gibson who is a senior lecturer in clinical psychology. There has been lots of research looking at whether antidepressants are effective but we want to give a voice to those people who have actually experienced the pros and cons of these drugs. We see their contribution as a critical part of the debate about antidepressants.”
“We are interested in finding out about all the different experiences that people might have had with antidepressant medications. We would like to know about what symptom relief people experienced as well as any side effects they had. We are also keen to know more about their views on what causes depression and how helpful they believe antidepressants are in addressing these,” said Gibson.
“We also want to understand more about how people make decisions about whether or not to take antidepressants once they are prescribed these,” she added.
Anyone who has been prescribed antidepressant medication in the last five years is eligible to take part in the survey even if they are no longer taking them. People who have been prescribed antidepressants but decided not to take them at all are also encouraged to take part.
The research team hopes that at least 1,000 people will take part in the online survey.
The survey, “Views and Experiences of Antidepressants in New Zealand”, can be accessed at: http://www.viewsonantidepressants.co.nz
A parallel survey of General Practitioners has is being conducted by a PhD student associated with the research team, seeking doctors’ views about depression and antidepressants. The GP survey can be accessed at: www.surveymonkey.com/s/generalpractitioners