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Antidepressant use still rising in Scotland

28th September 2011

New data has shown that the number of anti-depressants being prescribed to people in Scotland is continuing to rise.

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Scottish government figures have revealed that more than 10% of the population are on anti-depressant medication.

For the last financial year, some 4.6 million such drugs were prescribed, which is up by more than 350,000 on the previous year.

Anti-depressant prescribing increased from an annual growth of 7.6% in 2009/10 to 8.1% in 2010/11 and it is now believed that 11.3% of Scots over 15 take the drugs every day despite Scottish government pledges to try to reduce that rate.

The new figures have sparked a political row with Labour accusing the SNP of dropping its efforts in this area.

Scottish Labour’s public health spokesman Dr Richard Simpson described the figures as “extremely troubling.”

Dr Simpson, who is a fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatry, added: “Back in 2007 the SNP set a target to bring the use of anti-depressants under control, but when the going got tough the SNP ditched the target.

“I know from my experience as a doctor that mental illness can be devastating for those who experience it. However, for all but the most serious cases, the daily use of drugs should be a last resort.”

There is variation of anti-depressant use across Scotland with 8.3% of people living in Shetland taking the drugs compared with 12.9% in Greater Glasgow and Clyde. The health boards in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Forth Valley and Tayside all had rates of use above the Scottish average.

 

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