Tuesday, 30 September 2014

'Almost 800k Scots are on antidepressants' Herald article today

'Almost 800k Scots are on antidepressants' Herald article, 30 September 2014

"New figures show a rise in the number of patients being prescribed antidepressants. 

Statistics show that 778,180 patients were dispensed at least one antidepressant during 2013/14.
The figure represents an increase of 4.2% from 2012/13 when the number stood at 747,158 patients, and an increase of 22.8% since 2009/10.

More than 518,000 patients were female while almost 260,000 were male."

"The figures also show that 8,924 patients received treatment for ADHD in 2013/14, up 12.7% compared to 2012/13 and an increase of 33% since 2009/10.

Prescribing for dementia was also up by 16.7%, with 23,063 patients dispensed at least one drug for the condition during 2013/14 compared with 19,763 patients 2012/13.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "The Scottish Government has long worked hard to reduce the stigma faced by people with mental health problems.  As this stigma declines we would expect more patients to seek help from their GPs for problems such as depression.

"Any prescribing is a clinical decision and there is good evidence that GPs in Scotland assess and treat depression appropriately, and that GPs in Scotland are more likely to be working to clinical practice and guidelines than elsewhere.

"People with mental illness should expect the same standard of care as people with physical illness and should receive medication if they need it.  While we ensure those who need medication continue to receive it, we are also committed to improving access to alternatives, such as psychological therapies, that increase choice and best accommodate patient preference."

My comment:

It's concerning to read that at least one in seven Scottish people are taking antidepressants and of these twice as many are women.  There can be major issues getting off these drugs (see film Powerful Embrace by Dr Peter Gordon
about Seroxat/Paxil) and for some people they cause suicidal ideation, have black box warnings.

There is also the quote from Scottish Government about reducing stigma but with the "Psycho Ward" fancy dress costumes in supermarkets a year ago it seems that stigma unfortunately is alive and kicking.  I know this personally as I've had to make a complaint on behalf of a family member who was singled out and discriminated against in a council workplace by a social worker because of their "mental illness" label.  This stigmatising incident set them back in their mental health recovery.

Psychological therapies are still hard to get otherwise there would not be increasing numbers of drugs prescribed.  People might prefer to talk things through rather than popping a pill but if there is a long waiting list then what else can the doctor do with only 7mins or so for a chat?   In addition the increased drug prescribing for ADHD and dementia diagnoses are worrying.  Scotland seems to be becoming a serial pill popping nation because there is no time to talk.


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