Prevalence of and factors related to the use of antidepressants and benzodiazepines: results from the Singapore Mental Health Study
1 Research Division, Institute of Mental Health, Buangkok Green Medical Park, 10 Buangkok View, Singapore 539747, Singapore
2 Research Division, Institute of Mental Health, Singapore, Singapore
BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:231 doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-231Published: 23 September 2013
Prescription and use of antidepressants and benzodiazepines are common in the general population. Prescription of psychotropic drugs is a complex process: patient, physician and healthcare characteristics mediate, interact and influence it. The current study aimed to establish the prevalence and factors associated with the use of antidepressants (ADs) and benzodiazepines (BZDs) in Singapore.
The Singapore Mental Health Study (SMHS) was a nationally representative survey of Singapore Residents aged 18 years and above. Face-to-face interviews were conducted from December 2009 to December 2010. The diagnoses of mental disorders were established using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview version 3.0 (CIDI-3.0). The pharmacoepidemiology section was used to collect information on medication use.
The overall prevalence estimates for ADs and BZDs use during the 12 months prior to the interview were 1.1% and 1.2% respectively. In all, 2.0% had used ADs and/or BZDs. ‘Help seeking for emotional or mental health problems’ was the most important predictor for the use of ADs and BZDs—help seekers were much more likely to use ADs (adjusted OR: 31.62, 95% CI: 13.36–74.83) and more likely to use BZDs than non-help seekers in the previous 12 months (adjusted OR: 34.38, 95% CI: 12.97–91.16). Only 27.6% of those with 12-month major depressive disorder (MDD) had sought formal medical help for their problems and ADs were being used by just over a quarter of this ‘help-seeking group’ (26.3%).
We found that the use of ADs and BZDs in our population was relatively low, and ‘help-seeking’ was the most important predictor of the use of ADs and BZDs. In concordance with research from other Western countries, use of ADs was low among those with 12-month MDD.