"Happiest" Countries Are Simply Gobbling Up Anti-depressants (SSRI)

haidut

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I have always been suspicious of the annual reports of happiest countries around the world. I have visited quite a few of them (traditionally in Europe) and my observations are anything but positive. Yes, the people in those countries did smile more than other ones that the annual UN report would deem (superficially) unhappy, but the people seemed quite a bit "off". I don't know how to describe it in a better way. It was almost like fakeness but it was obvious that there were not faking their mood but rather were battling unnatural upbeatness that was somehow imposed on them.
Low and behold, this new study looked at antidepressant usage (overwhelmingly SSRI type drugs) and found that the countries consistently rated as the happiest were the ones with the highest consumption of antidepressants (SSRI). As the report says, it would be prudent to assume that the real happiness of the people living in these countries is actually unknown and likely much lower than what the official "happiness index" would suggest. I am beginning to wonder if there is something more sinister behind this index, such as a promotion effort by Big Pharma to push sales of antidepressants. It is certainly not a coincidence that Europe's consumption of antidepressant drugs skyrocketed in the 1990s and 200s and the growth rate exceeds that of any other country. In the USA, the growth rate is relatively flat so the market can't grow that much. As such, other markets are needed. Anyways, just a thought. Maybe I am overthinking it.

OECD iLibrary: Statistics / Health at a Glance: Europe / 2012 /
Europe's Highest Consumers Of Antidepressants
http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/worlds-happiest-countries-take-most-antidepressants

"...Scandinavia is, of course, one of the darkest and coldest regions on earth. It has always seemed suspicious that anyone living in those conditions could be even remotely happy. Any of the annual happiness lists should be regarded with suspicion anyway, considering the emotion itself is impossible to accurately measure. A new infographic created via Dadaviz and based on an OECD report suggests the moods of Scandinavian nations may be more closely linked to medicine than anything else. The chart depicts the relative amounts of antidepressant consumption across several different European nations. Iceland — not technically in Scandinavia but nearby — leads with 101 daily doses per 1,000 people. Denmark, Sweden and Finland are all close behind, with Portugal the only outlier. Norway ranks ninth. The report notes that the prevalence of antidepressants in Europe is a growing trend. “In all European countries for which data is available, the consumption of antidepressants has increased a lot over the decade, by over 80% on average across EU member states,” it reads. According to the report, 30 percent of Icelandic women over the age of 65 had an antidepressant prescription in 2008. It may seem paradoxical that the world’s happiest nations also take the most antidepressants. It would also be reasonable to conclude that their sense of happiness is derived from the drugs. In reality, it’s more likely that the availability of prescription antidepressants is yet another byproduct of Scandinavian-style government and culture. Universal health care means all citizens have access to mental health treatment. As the Guardian notes, Denmark records all mental health treatment in the Danish Psychiatric Research Register, giving scientists a wealth of data to work with. That data estimates that 38 percent of Danish women and 32% percent of Danish men will receive mental health treatment at some point during their lives. "
 

lampofred

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The Western world is falling. People are losing their intelligence, power, and happiness. I am a millennial and none of my friends in college can study without Adderall, they get depressed if they're not high nearly all day, etc. My generation is weaker than the ones before, and if millennials moved back in time a few centuries, we would get laughed at and destroyed.

Obviously I'm generalizing a lot and there are plenty of exceptions, but this is just a trend I noticed
 

Tarmander

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Kind of puts a lot of the political nonsense going on in a new light. Can we really grow as a people on this stuff?
 

haidut

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Kind of puts a lot of the political nonsense going on in a new light. Can we really grow as a people on this stuff?

I am also wondering how can a person be allowed to run for office if their mind is not right and they are always on some mind-altering drug? How is it still not a requirement to submit to independent commission to judge mental health? You can get sent to the shrink if you want to buy a truck (in some states) but if you want to be POTUS - nope, be as crazy as you want.
 

Velve921

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I work in professional sports and I find the Europeans always seems to be the calmest, easy going, optimistic; but least envious of our (American) impulsiveness and stress. A lot of the time they like to joke around about how stresses we are all the time and that coming to America can even make them more stressed. This is all purely subjective observation of mine of mine of course; it does make me really wonder how I would feel living in a European country; wonder how I would feel?

Haidut, as you said you are Bulgarian...did you have similar observations of some of my European athletes coming to America?
 

haidut

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I work in professional sports and I find the Europeans always seems to be the calmest, easy going, optimistic; but least envious of our (American) impulsiveness and stress. A lot of the time they like to joke around about how stresses we are all the time and that coming to America can even make them more stressed. This is all purely subjective observation of mine of mine of course; it does make me really wonder how I would feel living in a European country; wonder how I would feel?

Haidut, as you said you are Bulgarian...did you have similar observations of some of my European athletes coming to America?

I think it would depend on the country. Bulgaria has become very much the Wild West from the late 1800s and the early 1900s and people there are very stressed. But that seems to be mostly in the bigger cities. In the countryside, there is still a very laid back attitude, probably because people there feel everything the modern world has to offer is simply beyond reach for them, so they just chill and enjoy life the best they can.
In general, I think Europeans used to have a better outlook on life but that largely ended over the last 10 years, probably due to the issues the EU is facing as an entity/idea. I think nowadays Europe is a land of extremes - you can find happier people than in the USA but also people that are much gloomier than the biggest pessimist I have met in the USA. No perfect country in this world, but if you are healthy and financially independent you can probably live fine in either place (Europe or USA). Just my observation.
 

Drareg

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Worldwide Australia have the second highest use of antidepressants (2013)and come second on the happiness index,you mentioned before haidut that they were pushing ssri's in South Korea claiming it will bring them higher in the happiness index?
Below is from 2013.
Australia second in world in using antidepressants: report

It's interesting many will try pin sunlight/vitamin D to the Nordic depression yet here we have Australia which gets plenty of sunlight with issues.
 

SarahBeara

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Is happiness what we even should be aiming for? Happiness is fleeting and in my opinion we all suffer for chasing it (and probably is a cause of depression). I think a better goal is to live a meaningful life. Focusing on happiness is to focus on oneself, focusing on meaning is to focus on your impact in the world and I think is a much more worthwhile goal.
 

WestCoaster

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I always thought happiness had something to do or was correlated with the amount of vacation time per year. Take a place like USA where I think if I'm not mistaken it is only 1 week mandatory vacation, and may even get 2 weeks but not taken them for fear of losing their job. For the people I know in the U.S it seems to coincide with this. Everyone I know is only given 1 week off per year. That of course is enough to build up some decent stress, combine that with a job they probably hate and voila you have yourself one miserable populace lol.

It's my understanding that European countries or at least some of them have more mandatory vacation days per years than western nations? Either way, I believe Europe is now kind of moving more so towards the western style of thinking so I totally buy the idea that if it's anti-depressants that are the reason behind for happiness, it makes total sense.

The more dependent you can make a population on drugs, the more money you can rip out of their pockets right?
 

jaa

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Is happiness what we even should be aiming for? Happiness is fleeting and in my opinion we all suffer for chasing it (and probably is a cause of depression). I think a better goal is to live a meaningful life. Focusing on happiness is to focus on oneself, focusing on meaning is to focus on your impact in the world and I think is a much more worthwhile goal.

A meaningful life is pretty vague. It's usually hard to define without including happiness.

I agree that chasing what people will think will make them happy can lead people astray. But being happy will not.
 

Blossom

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The more dependent you can make a population on drugs, the more money you can rip out of their pockets right?
And the more dependent you can make a population on drugs the more you can control them.
 

haidut

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Worldwide Australia have the second highest use of antidepressants (2013)and come second on the happiness index,you mentioned before haidut that they were pushing ssri's in South Korea claiming it will bring them higher in the happiness index?
Below is from 2013.
Australia second in world in using antidepressants: report

It's interesting many will try pin sunlight/vitamin D to the Nordic depression yet here we have Australia which gets plenty of sunlight with issues.

Yep, South Korea definitely pushes pills to up its standing in the happiness index. I think it may be the most medicated Asian country (even though China is putting up a good fight lately). To them it means more investments in the country, which many people shy away from due to the proximity to North Korea.
 

zztr

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It was a widely circulated meme at one point that most of the board members and executives at Enron were on Prozac. People were talking about how SSRI usage in corporate circles was so pervasive (30% +) it was probably impacting business cycles in ways not previously modeled. A substantial fraction of the people who launched America into the Iraq war were probably on Prozac.
 

charlie

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You can get sent to the shrink if you want to buy a truck (in some states) but if you want to be POTUS - nope, be as crazy as you want.
Leave Hillary out of this! :ss2
 

haidut

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Leave Hillary out of this! :ss2

Lol, I think she used to openly admit to taking antidepressants while Bill was president. I guess it is understandable given the Monica effect. Then, around early 2000s while running for Senate she stopped answering questions about her mental health and drug use. Currently, the only things she admits to are thyroid, estrogen, and coumarin/warfarin. Bill hinted in an interview in 2014 that she is still on some kind of psychotropic medication. They asked him if it is difficult living with such an ambitious/competitive woman and he said "only when she doesn't take her pills".
 

charlie

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I think she used to openly admit to taking antidepressants while Bill was president. I guess it is understandable given the Monica effect. Then, around early 2000s while running for Senate she stopped answering questions about her mental health and drug use. Currently, the only things she admits to are thyroid, estrogen, and coumarin/warfarin. Bill hinted in an interview in 2014 that she is still on some kind of psychotropic medication. They asked him if it is difficult living with such an ambitious/competitive woman and he said "only when she doesn't take her pills".
Well that's promising. :wideyed:
 

TheHound

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Is happiness what we even should be aiming for? Happiness is fleeting and in my opinion we all suffer for chasing it (and probably is a cause of depression). I think a better goal is to live a meaningful life. Focusing on happiness is to focus on oneself, focusing on meaning is to focus on your impact in the world and I think is a much more worthwhile goal.

good post and one many people should listen to
 

tastyfood

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Interesting thought. I lived in Denmark for a year, in the beautiful town of Aarhus, and from what I could see they really had it going in there.
 
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