Latest figures from Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that the prescriptions for anti-depressants and diabetes have doubled in the period from 2005 to 2015.
While in 2005, 26.5 million diabetic drugs were prescribed with cost of £495.3 million, in 2015, 40 million oral diabetic drugs were handed out to patients with net ingredients cost of £936.7 million pounds.
‘Greater awareness about mental illness and dearth of other forms of treatment like cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling especially in areas where prescription rates are higher, may be the reason for increase in the use of anti-depressants.’
In 2015, 61 million prescriptions were filled for anti-depressants like citalopram and fluoxetine. The basic prices of the drugs mounted to £284.7 million. Back in the year 2005, only 29.4 million prescriptions were filled out.
Gillian Connor, head of policy at the charity Rethink Mental Illness said ," The reasons for the increase in anti-depressant prescriptions could include a greater awareness of mental illness and more willingness to seek help." He added, "However with our overstretched and underfunded mental health services, too often anti-depressants are the only treatment available."
UK treatment guidelines suggest that anti-depressants should be offered to people suffering from moderate depression. Some critics argue that more people should be encouraged to seek other forms of treatments including talking therapy.
According to Vicki Nash, head of policy and campaign at mental health charity Mind," The number of prescriptions issued for antidepressants in the UK has been on a persistent upward trend for many years. These latest figures show no sign of this trend slowing and we need to understand why we are seeing persistent year-on-year increases." He stated that the rise in trend may be due to increase in awareness among people or the improved skill of doctors at spotting symptoms. He also insisted on finding the exact cause of the sudden surge in the trend. Though there is the availability of cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling as an alternative to drugs, these forms of treatments may not be available in areas with higher prescription rates.
Anti-depressants can be very effective but should not be recommended as the first line of treatment for everyone especially with those suffering from mild depression.