A new report released by the OECD has shown that Iceland is the world’s biggest consumer of anti-depressants per capita. One in ten Icelander now take medicine to cope with mental health anxieties.
Overall there has been a steady rise in the last decade, with many OECD countries in Europe seeing the rise double since 2000. Iceland has always had a relatively high consumption, leading the way in 2000, but latest figures show the problem is off the scale.
Other big consumers include its Nordic neighbors Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, as well as United Kingdom and even Canada, suggesting it’s related to seasonal affect disorder (SAD), resulting from short day light hours. However, sun-drenched Australia came in second on the list.
While the rise can be attributed to the stress of the financial fallout in 2009, the report also attributes the spike to an increase in people seeking treatment for a common and rising ailment. While the US was not listed in the figures there is reckoned to be a third of their population suffering some form of depression.
Previously treatment was overlooked due to the personal nature of the syndrome, being a form of mental illness, but it’s become acceptable in recent years to confront the problem and seek out stabilising medicine, which helps control moods, sleep and energy levels.
Iceland records 106 daily doses per 1,000 of the population, double the OECD average of 56. Some academics attribute this to the lack of natural remedies in the country.