Iceland tops anti-depressants table

Photo: Kristinn Ingvarsson

Photo: Kristinn Ingvarsson

Over 40,000 Icelanders – 12.5% of the entire population – were prescribed anti-depressants in 2014. This is the highest rate of use of all OECD countries.

“Whether or not these prescriptions reflect a prevalence of depression in Iceland is unclear – as such drugs are sometimes used for other ailments than depression – but Iceland’s top placing warrants attention,” reads the website of the Icelandic Directorate of Health.

Anti-depressant use in Iceland also appears to be on the rise, with 2014 figures up 8.5% on just ten years before.

Iceland also tops the table when it comes to use of sleeping pills, stimulants and strong painkillers.

One explanation for Icelanders’ extensive use of anti-depressants could be that they are also prescribed to tackle disorders other than depression, such as ADHD. A shortage of non-pharmaceutical remedies, such as psychiatric treatment, could also be behind the striking figures.




3 °C



4 °C

Rain showers


7 °C

Warning: Yellow More

Exchange rates

USD USD 119.77 EUR EUR 135.50
GBP GBP 154.80 DKK DKK 18.16
NOK NOK 13.89 SEK SEK 12.80
CHF CHF 119.26 JPY JPY 1.08
ISK price of selected currencies, according to the official exchange rate of the Central Bank of Iceland. Updated daily.