Perceptions of and Attitudes Toward Antidepressants: Stigma Attached to Their Use-A Review

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to ascertain whether there is any evidence of stigma related to the use of antidepressants. Using the PubMed and MEDLINE databases, we searched for the terms stigma, antidepressants, and depression. A protocol was developed to extract information from the papers, which were identified and explored further. Thirty-two papers were identified. We found that the stigma against depression differs from stigma against the use of antidepressants. Stigma against depression does not impact on therapeutic adherence to antidepressant use. Stigma related to antidepressant use appears to be linked with perceived emotional weakness, severity of illness, an inability to deal with problems, and a lack of belief in the therapeutic efficacy of antidepressants. Stigma against medication can be a useful target for interventions, just like the stigma related to depression. However, clinicians must be careful in avoiding the medicalization of symptoms.

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