One in three women take pills to beat depression
The study by British women`s campaign group `Platform 51` found that 48 per cent of women currently using the drugs have taken them for at least five years, while 24 per cent have taken them for 10 years or more.
Meanwhile, 24 per cent of women on anti-depressants have waited a year or more for a review, the research found.
The charity, which commissioned a survey of more than 2,000 adults in England and Wales, said the figures pose "worrying questions" about the appropriateness of prescriptions.
Rebecca Gill of Platform 51 said: "These shocking figures reveal an escalating crisis in women`s use of anti-depressants.
"We know from working with women and girls in our centres that anti-depressants have a role to play but they are too readily prescribed as the first and only remedy.
"Three in five women are offered no alternative to drugs at their reviews and one in four currently on anti-depressants have waited more than a year for review.
"Our research suggests that there is still a huge stigma attached to poor mental health. With so many women not telling their families, it is clear that women fear they will be judged on the state of their mental health.
"The current NICE guidelines are not being followed: women want more checks to make sure the medication use is right for them and they want more choice when it comes to receiving treatment."
Platform 51 is calling on health authorities to launch a review into the guidelines for anti-depressant use and prescription.