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Record numbers turn to pills to battle depression
Record numbers of people are turning to pills for help as pressures caused by the financial crisis take their toll.
Prescriptions for antidepressants have been soaring with more than 1.5 million handed out by GPs across Sussex in just one year – up from 1.4 million.
Fears over job security, fears over pay- ing bills and mortgages or the emotional impact of being made redundant are all believed to have contributed to the growing number of people develop- ing depression and stress.
Figures reveal 288,049 prescriptions were issued between April 2012 and the end of March in Brighton and Hove alone, compared to 268,911 prescriptions the previous year.
East Sussex Downs and Weald sent out 341,325 prescriptions, compared to 323,717 in 2011/12. Hastings and Rother also rose from 187,507 to 202,307 while West Sussex went up from 670,978 to 707,405.
Health bosses say the rise is also down to signs of depression being picked up and dealt with more quickly. Sarah Richards, chief of clinical quality, performance and innovation at High Weald, Lewes and Havens Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We have seen a slight increase in the prescribing of antidepressants and we would expect this to be the case.
“Thankfully depression is becoming much better recognised and accepted and people feel increasingly comfortable talking to their GP about how they feel.
"There are also advances in medicine which have made antidepressants more effective and with fewer negative side effects.
“At any one time, between 5% and 10% of the population are suffering from depression at a level that needs support.
"It is likely one in five of us will have a depressive episode of some kind during our lifetime.
"This may include a range of approaches including therapy, exercise and healthy eating, as well as the availability of medication.”
A spokeswoman for Horsham and Mid Sussex and Crawley CCGs said: “Improving care for people with mental health problems is a priority for the CCGs and we are actively working with GPs and mental health service providers to ensure they get the most appropriate care in community set- tings.”
Work is also being done to encourage early detection of symptoms, so approaches including therapy and exercise can be tried as an alternative.
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