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Scottish anti-depressant use “extremely worrying”

16 December 2009

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The rise in the number of adults taking medication to combat depression in Scotland is “extremely worrying”, a Labour health spokesman said.

Dr Richard Simpson expressed concern after health service statistics revealed that one in 10 adults in the country take anti-depressants on a daily basis.

His concern was echoed by Billy Watson, chief executive of the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), who called for a review of current treatments available for doctors to prescribe to patients suffering from depression.

Mr Watson said: “We all know these are difficult times and the recession is having a widely reported impact on the mental health of the nation. However, SAMH is concerned that one in 10 of the adult population in Scotland is now taking anti-depressants regularly.

“SAMH believes that the best way to support people with mental health problems is to provide prompt access to a wide range of treatments, including talking therapies and exercise. But unfortunately, people are still being prescribed anti-depressants because other options are not routinely available to GPs.”

A total of 4.01 million anti-depressants were prescribed in Scotland in 2008-09, up 178,650 on the previous year.

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