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Pharmacopsychiatry. 2004 Jul;37(4):152-6.

Public attitudes towards psychotropic drugs: have there been any changes in recent years?

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.



Two representative surveys conducted in the early 1990 s found very negative views on psychotropic medication among the German public. The question arises whether this reservation about drug treatment of mental disorders has persisted over the following decade, or whether there have been any changes. Furthermore, it will be examined whether the preexisting differences between East and West Germany can still be observed.


In 2001, a representative survey was conducted among the German population aged 18 years and older, using the same instrument for the assessment of perceived effects of psychotropic medication as in a previous survey in 1990.


As expected, in 2001, those questioned were more ready to acknowledge beneficial effects of drug treatment. However, contrary to our expectation, the difference between East and West Germany has persisted, with people in the East still being more sceptical in their assessment of drug effects.


Although public attitudes towards psychotropic drugs have improved somewhat over the last decade, the actual situation is far from being satisfying. Further efforts to improve public knowledge about the psychopharmacotherapy of mental disorders are needed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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