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One in 10 taking antidepressants

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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.”

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Readers' comments (2)

  • as a Cpn and also a service user I have been taking antidepressants and have seen clients use them although a small percentage of clients do not respond most notice an effect within 2-4 weeks the fastest time I noticed a responce was when I took fluoxetine and saw a vast reduction in my anxiety levels with 4 days. I do believe they work and although it would be ideal if we could measure seretonin and noradrenaline levels I think we only have to look how many people have benifited from these drugs to know that they do work.

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  • I'm also a registered nurse and a service user. I take antidepressants & have benefited from them, but until this most recent episode, had always been managed by 'watchful waiting'/regular support from excellent GPs. My preference would be for therapy to enable me to potentially come off the meds. How many of these prescriptions are due to the paucity of available psychological therapies still? I'd been told there would be a 2 yr wait for therapy; now I've heard the waiting list is closed due to level of demand, so I am left indefinitely without treatment. I can thus see how GPs find themselves having to give these prescriptions despite guidelines to the contrary/govt policy to reduce.

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