It’s no news flash that the number of antidepressants being handed out has grown considerably during the past decade, but what is surprising is that even since government backed initiatives (over the past couple of years) to promote psychological therapies – the number still continues to rise.
So what is really behind the rise in prescriptions, and is there anything that can be done to prevent a further increase?
Expert opinion on this matter is spilt, with some believing the increase may in part be related to an overall decline in mental health since the financial crisis, and others believing it is linked to a change in prescribing practice with more individuals being diagnosed with mental health concerns and subsequently being put on medication for longer periods of time.
Official guidelines put together by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) and distributed to GPs state the following: “Do not use antidepressants routinely to treat persistent sub-threshold depressive symptoms or mild depression because the risk-benefit ratio is poor.”
Instead, GPs should be offering talk therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), group therapy and counselling – only prescribing antidepressants in cases where they truly feel that psychological therapy alone will not be enough.
Antidepressants can be hugely effective, and in some cases are entirely necessary – however, it is also important that individuals suffering from mental health concerns such as depression, attempt to actually understand and explore why they are feeling the way they do so they are able to move forward.
If you are suffering from depression and have been prescribed antidepressants but have not been referred for any psychological therapies, you may benefit from seeking help independently from a counsellor or psychotherapist who specialises in this area. Visit our depression fact-sheet to find out more.
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