Scotland’s depression crisis faces an increasingly bleak future if not tackled head-on with a more proactive attitude, leading health experts have warned. Despite a 50% reduction in the number of people seeing their doctors for depression, antidepressant prescriptions have skyrocketed and continue to increase.
According to official NHS figures, the 850,000 individuals having consultations in 2003 for their depression fell to 420,000 this year. On the surface this would appear to be a huge improvement and proof that measures to combat depression are working, but experts worry it could be quite to the contrary.
Over the same period, antidepressant medication prescriptions have increased from 3.4 million to 5.2 million, suggesting that contrary to first impressions, more people than ever before are suffering from one form of depression or another. And more worryingly still, fewer of those suffering are having face to face consolations with the doctors and this enabling themselves to combat the root of their problems, as opposed to just the symptoms.
“If there are so many fewer GP consultations, where are the tens of thousands extra people suffering from depression getting their medication from?” said Scottish Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw.
“We cannot have a situation where people are being parked on this medication, and robbed of any chance of a full recovery.”
The problem in Scotland is mirrored across the UK and the US, where easy access to antidepressant medication is said to be causing more harm than good and preventing the kind of treatment that can help rid their lives of depression as opposed to just masking the symptoms.