Rise in prescribed anti-depressants

A HUGE rise in the number of anti-depressants prescribed in Suffolk could be due to increasing money worries because of the recession, it was claimed last night.

A HUGE rise in the number of anti-depressants prescribed in Suffolk could be due to increasing money worries because of the recession, it was claimed last night.

Figures reveal that 523,246 prescriptions for anti-depressants were issued in the county between April 2008 and March this year.

They show a massive increase of 40 per cent since 2004/5 when just 374,665 prescriptions were issued.

Suffolk Mind Partnership said the increase may be because more people are becoming depressed due to financial difficulties experienced during the recession.

Carole Slater, psychological therapies services manager for Suffolk Mind Partnership, said: “Personally I think the figure is high but it is indicative of the times we live in. The pressures of life are becoming increasingly difficult for a lot of people.

“Obviously during a recession people are under more stresses and strains from daily living and therefore possibly find it harder to cope.”

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The figures for Suffolk show a steady increase in the past five years on the number of prescriptions issued.

But Richard Hodgson, senior pharmacist at NHS Suffolk, said it does not mean there has been an increase in the quantity of drugs prescribed.

He said: “You cannot conclude from these figures that we are prescribing more anti-depressants.

“For many years we have been badgering GPs to prescribe for shorter periods for various reasons, including patient safety. It is likely that GPs are prescribing smaller quantities at a time so the number of prescription items can go up without meaning that more drugs are being prescribed.”

Despite this, Mr Hodgson agreed that with more people experiencing financial difficulties, there will be more cases of depression in the county.