Information for Patient Participants

Long-term antidepressant use

There is considerable concern about increasing antidepressant use, with Australians among the highest users in the world (around one in seven adults are using antidepressants). Antidepressants can help when people are experiencing depression, but guidelines recommend using them for up to one year. Yet, in Australia the average duration of treatment is much longer and it is estimated that between 30-50% of people on long-term antidepressants could try stopping.

Unnecessary long-term use is a concern because of side effects such as weight gain, decreased sex drive, emotional numbing, lack of motivation, sleep disturbance, and an increased risk of falls and fractures in older people.

The RELEASE resources for patients

  • Medication information brochure: 'Antidepressants: Understanding the risks of long-term use'

  • Decision aid: 'Could stopping antidepressants be right for me?'

  • Personalised Antidepressant Discontinuation Plan 

  • Antidepressant discontinuation success stories

Links to helpful websites