More Italians are taking anti-depressants: study

Increasing numbers of Italians haved turned to anti-depressants in recent years, a new study has revealed, with figures suggesting that women use the medication more than men.

More Italians are taking anti-depressants: study
File photo: pills_e_magine_art_flickr/Flickr

Since 2004, there has been a significant increase in the consumption of anti-depressant medication in Italy, according study carried out by the Italian Agency for Medication (Aifa) and presented on Wednesday in Rome.

Entitled ‘The use of medication in Italy’, the report found a 4.5 percent increase in the use of antidepressants between 2004 and 2012.

In particular, women are the most frequent users of antidepressants, a trend which increases steadily between the ages of 35 and 44, when women take an average of 44 doses of medication per thousand habitants, compared with 37 doses for men.

This discrepancy was most notable in the over-75 years category where the dose per thousand habitants was 175 for women compared with 131 for men.

And this increase is not set to change any time soon, Luca Pani, chief executive of the Agency for Medication (Aifa) told Il Fatto Quotidiano.

“By 2020, after cardiovascular diseases, depression will be the illness responsible for the loss of the most number of years of someone’s active and healthy life,” Pani said.

Articolotre reports that medication guidelines recommend a treatment of at least six months in patients with depression, due to the risk of relapse.

However, 50 percent of patients being treated with antidepressants stop taking their medication within the first three months, and 70 percent within the first six months.

It’s only the latest evidence that paints a bleak picture of the mood of the country.

See also: Why are Italians so miserable?

Earlier this month, The Local reported that Italy trails behind the UK, France and Germany when it comes to being happy in the World Happiness Survey.

The survey, which ranked 156 countries, was based on a combination of self-declared happiness factors, including health, family, job security and freedom from political oppression and corruption. 

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Covid-19: Average life expectancy in Italy dropped by 1.2 years in 2020

Coronavirus cut average life expectancy in Italy by 1.2 years in 2020, and by more than four years in parts of the country hit hardest by the pandemic, official statistics showed on Monday.

Covid-19: Average life expectancy in Italy dropped by 1.2 years in 2020
A cemetery in Bergamo, one of the parts of Italy which has suffered the highest death toll during the coronavirus crisis. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Life expectancy at birth last year stood at 82 years, compared to 83.2 years in 2019, the Istat national statistics office said in a new release.

“In 2020, the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting sharp increase in mortality abruptly interrupted the growth in life expectancy at birth that had characterised the trend until 2019,” it said in a statement.

For many years Italy has boasted one of the longest life expectancies in Europe. But with the spread of the coronavirus, its ageing population was especially vulnerable to falling sick.

Italy has recorded close to 130,000 deaths from Covid-19 in total, which have mainly been among the elderly.


The drop in life expectancy was even steeper in some regions such as the northern provinces of Bergamo and Cremona, the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020.

Men lost on average 4.3 and 4.5 years while women lost 3.2 years and 2.9 years in these areas.

More than 129,500 people with coronavirus have died in Italy, the majority in the northern regions where 36 percent of the population lives.

According to Istat, the pandemic has wiped out many of the gains made year-on-year since 2010, when Italy’s average life expectancy was 81.7.

Italy was the first European country to face a major outbreak of Covid-19 and for a time the region of Lombardy, the nation’s economic heart, became the epicentre of the global pandemic.

Quality of life has also been impacted in Italy, particulary due to the economic repercussions of the crisis.

The government has since rolled out a vaccination programme that, as of Monday evening, had almost 72 percent of the population over 12 fully immunised.

Italy has set a target of vaccinating at least 80 percent of the population by the end of September.