Daily antidepressants are being prescribed to nearly one in 10 adults in Scotland, according to new figures.
On the basis of NHS statistics, it has been estimated that 9.7% of people aged over 15 took anti-depressants every day in 2007-08. This is a 4.7% rise on the previous year.
In 2008-09, 4.01 million antidepressants were prescribed. However, the cost of the drugs fell from £40.4m in 2007-08 to £35.8m, thanks to a fall in the price of the drugs.
The Scottish Government has set a target to end the increased use of antidepressants, with Labour health spokesman saying the figures were “extremely worrying”.
Billy Watson, chief executive of the charity Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), said: “We all know these are difficult times and the recession is having a widely reported impact on the mental health of the nation.
“However, SAMH is concerned that one in ten of the adult population in Scotland is now taking antidepressants regularly.
“SAMH believes that the best way to support people with mental health problems is to provide prompt access to a wide range of treatments, including talking therapies and exercise. But unfortunately, people are still being prescribed antidepressants because other options are not routinely available to GPs.”