Prescriptions for depression meds in North-east double in a decade

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THE number of people using antidepressants has risen year-on-year for the past decade.

New figures reveal there has been an explosion of people using the drugs.

In Grampian, 20,737,548 daily doses were prescribed during 2014/15, compared with 10,661,596 ten years ago.

Now, a national mental health charity has told the Evening Express too many people are being given the drugs without other forms of treatment.

Director of external affairs at Rethink Mental Illness, Brian Dow, said: “No one can say for certain why more people are being prescribed antidepressants, but it’s likely to be due to a range of factors.

“Changing attitudes are certainly having an impact.

“Attitudes towards mental health have vastly improved over the last decade and, although stigma is still a major problem, people are now more willing to be open if they might be experiencing depression, and go to their GP for help.”

Mr Dow said too many people are just being given medication alone, when treatments like talking therapies are proven to boost the impact of drugs alone.

NHS Grampian said most of the prescriptions came from GPs and are appropriate.

An NHS Grampian spokeswoman said: “Research carried out in Grampian has highlighted the vast majority of these prescriptions come from GPs rather than hospital mental health services.

“The evidence also suggests these prescriptions are entirely appropriate.”

She added the region’s population has grown, antidepressants are not addictive and can be prescribed for a range of conditions.