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Use of antidepressants among the population in Belgium 2001-2018

By 2018, over seven percent of the Belgian population were consuming antidepressants drugs. In addition, the daily dosage of antidepressants increased in Belgium. Indeed, the defined daily dosage per 1,000 inhabitants per day of antidepressants rose from 53.5 in 2005 to 79 in 2017. Ultimately, Belgians were consuming more antidepressants than ever before.

In 2020, one out of five Belgians suffers from an anxiety disorder

  The rise of antidepressant use supports the increasing prevalence of depressive and generalized anxiety disorders among the Belgian population. In early 2020, it was estimated that 16 percent of Belgians suffered from a form of depressive disorder and 20 percent from an anxiety disorder. From a regional perspective, the use of antidepressants was higher in Wallonia, and below the national average in Flanders. Unsurprisingly, the prevalence of depressive disorders was at its highest in Wallonia and at its lowest in Flanders.

Sleeping pills and tranquilizers

  Antidepressants are prescribed for various other conditions and are not usually indicated for mild depression, while the pharmaceutical treatment for anxiety disorders is generally sleeping pills and tranquilizers. For instance, over 12 percent of Belgians used sleeping pills and tranquilizers in 2018. In the country, such drugs can be prescribed by general practitioners and most commonly by psychiatrists. In 2017, the number of active psychiatrists in Belgium notably amounted to over 1.9 thousand professionals.

Share of population consuming antidepressants in Belgium from 2001 to 2018

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Release date

January 2020



Survey time period

2001 to 2018

Age group

15 years and older

Special properties

Citizens in Belgium

Method of interview

Online survey

Supplementary notes

* The sampling of respondents was made online and not controlled scientifically. However, a logistic regression model based on age, gender, and the yearly population, was used to evaluate the consumption in the entire Belgian population. The source does not specify the number of respondents.

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Statistics on "Mental health in Belgium"

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