People with recurrent depression are usually prescribed antidepressants for years. Research into long-term use of antidepressants is being conducted at the University of Groningen, with particular attention to the question whether people can be weaned off their medication or should in fact continue taking it after recovery from a depression. The interest in participating in the research is large; last month the 4,000th registration was screened.
In 2011, 259 million daily doses of antidepressants were issued in the Netherlands. This costs about EUR 121 million a year. Nearly half of these costs go on antidepressants that are collected from the pharmacy but are then not used. ‘Cost savings are certainly possible’, says researcher Gerard van Rijsbergen. ‘Previous research has also shown that seventy percent of people who take antidepressants are not using them properly. That increases the chance of a depression returning.’
Clinical psychologists of the University of Groningen are therefore collaborating in a major national study designed to find out how people are using antidepressants in the long term. Van Rijsbergen: ‘We’re researching what works best for whom. It may be possible for a specific group of people to reduce and finally end their use of antidepressants if they receive psychological training. For others, however, it may be better to continue taking the medication to remain optimally protected against a relapse.’
The research could result in a reduction in the use of medication. This would not only benefit patients, it could result in significant cost savings for healthcare.
The department of Clinical Psychology is also researching the question whether alternative treatment via the internet and mobile telephone could protect against depression.
Patients who have recovered from depression in the past but are still taking an antidepressant or are interested in preventive training via internet and phone can register via
or tel. 06-39616754 (see also
). Last month the 4,000th registration was screened, but there is still room for more participants.
More information: Gerard van Rijsbergen, tel. 06-39616754, e-mail:
Since January 2020, Annette Mülberger has been working at the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences. As a Theory and History of Psychology professor she argues that looking at the past can help to understand contemporary issues.
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