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Scotland in the grip of depression

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Published Date: 28 September 2011
THE number of Scots prescribed pills to combat depression has soared to record levels, with more than one in ten people now regularly taking antidepressant drugs.
The number of prescriptions for antidepressants handed out by medical professionals in Scotland rocketed last year to 4.66 million - up 7.6 per cent from 4.3m in the previous 12 months.

Meanwhile, a report published today demonstrates a persistent east-west divide in the risk of dying of coronary heart disease in Scotland. The Scottish Health Survey (SHS) has painted a picture of a nation of overweight people who avoid fruit and vegetables and take too little exercise.

A report by Heart UK showed the Ayrshire and Arran, Lanarkshire and Greater Glasgow health board areas had the highest coronary heart disease mortality rates in the country, while Fife, Lothian and Tayside have far lower rates.

The SHS revealed only 39 per cent of adults were getting their recommended daily amount of physical activity and that only 22 per cent met the recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables.

The report into antidepressant use, released by the Scottish Government, showed 11.3 per cent of all Scots aged 15 and over take drugs such as Prozac or Cipramil on a daily basis. However, the cost of prescribing the drugs dropped by £1.6m compared with the previous year, to £30.6m.

Figures released by the NHS Prescription Services earlier this year showed there were 0.76 prescriptions of anti- depressants per head of population in England and Wales, while in Scotland, the figure was 0.88, despite SNP targets to cut their use.

Critics have called for therapies such as counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy to be tried before GPs resort to drugs - but medical experts claim a combination of "talking" therapies and pills can be more effective than therapies alone. However, there are often long waiting lists for talking therapies on the NHS.

Dr Alex Yellowlees, medical director at the Priory Hospital in Glasgow, said: "Are GPs overprescribing antidepressants? And are they prescribing them for conditions that may not require antidepressants and not be responsive to them? Or are they prescribing them because it is quick and easy?

"GPs have very limited appointment times and for them to assess somebody properly and make a diagnosis of whether this is a clinical depression which may respond to medication is remarkably difficult."

Carolyn Roberts, head of policy and campaigns at the Scottish Association for Mental Health, said it was a "positive sign" that people were increasingly comfortable talking to GPs about mental health.

However, she added: "Once people have taken that step, we must ensure they receive the right treatment at the right time.

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  • Last Updated: 28 September 2011 10:30 AM
  • Source: The Scotsman
  • Location: Edinburgh
  • Related Topics: Health of the NHS

Red Etin,

28/09/2011 11:23:55
This article depresses me.

Alternative (High-Octane) Fuel Head,

Edinburgh 28/09/2011 11:31:26
Hardly surprising considering the way this country has been governed for the past 20 years.


edinburgh 28/09/2011 11:58:45
it is hardly surprising that the Scots are having an epidemic of depressed people !with having to suffer a goverment here followed by another goverment in westminster and finally to be used and a abused by a european mob.
people here do not know what is going on since there seems ro be an abundance of maniacs amongst all that pile that are making the lives of the Scots people
a misery
politicians are so sheltered from the the raeal life with their massive wages ,their massive pensions ,their massive expenses and other such perks that they do not have a clue or if they have they do not care anyway
my advice to the Alex boy is never mind about all your crazy schemes ,instead start building huge lunatic asylums all over the place for soon there will be very long queue to get a place there
for us to allow politicians to do to us what they do to us, shows there must be a touch of insanity to start with in people
the political world is highly populated by a form of subhuman species and yet we we allow ourselves to be conned into voting for them
no wonder millions of antidepressant pills are being consumed !!!!

Iain Mac,

28/09/2011 12:04:56
The Labour Party conference is pretty depressing. What a shower of uninspiring no-hopers.

Robert the Booze,

28/09/2011 13:20:15
What is the simplest cheapest way to treat this problem.

Anti depressants cost less than £100 each year.

Talking therapies might be £50 a session.


Alternative (High-Octane) Fuel Head,

Edinburgh 28/09/2011 13:24:57

Hardly surprising. They are being led by someone who looks like a backward schoolboy with a speech impediment, who has no ideas of his own and can do nothing but criticise minor shortcomings of those who went before him.


Edinburgh 28/09/2011 13:26:50
The curse of modern living! We have so much more in our lives and we put ourselves under so much pressure and just when we think we're coping, along come Govt cuts, job losses, pension contribution raises, petrol hikes and suddenly we hit tipping point. Still, part of me wonders how much of this is down to our love of convenience and quick fixes. Relationship breakdowns and bereavements take time to get over. Why rush it? Emotions are there for a reason and sometimes I wonder if we just numb ourselves to negative feelings rather than learn to deal effectively with them. REAL depression is terrible and can affect the lives of everyone around a sufferer. Running to the doctor for pills cos you're a wee bit on the sad side should be discouraged, not just for financial reasons!


Edinburgh 28/09/2011 14:09:03
"Mens sana in corpore sano"

Nice to see that the important link between health in both body and mind is being made. Lifestyle is a crucial aspect of mental health and so many more people would be so much happier if they just got off their fat bahookies and did some exercise. No wonder prescriptions of anti-depressants are soaring.

In our society too many people expect everything to be laid on - feel a bit down? Go to the doctor's. There is also a worrying reciprocal of pills being dished out and not enough people being told to shape up. While it's true that mental health issues are more readily acknowledged and less stigmatised these days, ask yourself how many people in the third world have 'conditions' like ME?

wild wadi,

28/09/2011 14:14:23
There will undoubtedly be a link between this drug misuse and benefit claims.


Kirkcaldy 28/09/2011 14:38:50
What else would we expect?

We live in one of the worst countries in the world. Seriously what is actually going for Scotland just now? Even when we get a late indian summer it lasts for a day. This Saturday it will be pouring rain, cloudy and 17 degrees whilst in south it will be 25-29 degress and glorious sunshine.

Why would anyone want to actually live in this part of the world? No wonder people are depressed!


Edinburgh 28/09/2011 14:40:19
#9 Perhaps so but being on the dole is enough to depress anyone. This is why I believe the unemployed should be compelled to work at least three days a week for their benefits. It would give them self-esteem and a work ethic and stop them languishing in the house or getting addled - cf. my comments about physical health above.


Cut out 'the cult' from Scotland. 28/09/2011 14:53:11
782 Kristine z Kochanski,
27/09/2011 23:40:21
894 Incandescent got 666 which is the best number to get if you fancy being the anti-christ, which has always appealed to me."

From KK/Observer, yesterday, on the 'Treasury attacks SNP over bill's slow progress' article.

Hmmm !


Cut out 'the cult' from Scotland. 28/09/2011 14:59:35
Once we get away from England, and their evil Westminster UK plc government, then all of Scotland will have all Westminster's sins lifted from us.

O' what a beautiful time that will be.

Vote Yes for Scottish independence.

wild wadi,

28/09/2011 15:02:19
#11 Oli,

I agree. I'm unemployed and don't get benefits so you can understand if I'm slightly cynical about some one one £25,000 benefits claiming unemployment is causing them to be depressed.

Someone with three jobs struggling to pay their mortgage, maybe.

Problem is most people on benefits couldn't ever hope to earn enough to make it worthwhile working.


Cut out 'the cult' from Scotland. 28/09/2011 15:03:38
One more thing, I used to support Rangers, but when I seen those anti-Scottish banners from Rangers supporters, I now support Celtic; phuck Rangers !


28/09/2011 15:07:42
This is for Allan Massie; Scotland's heritage can be traced to the 'Dan tribe', one of the original twelve tribes of Israel; the exodus from Egypt led by Moses.

Barnacle Goose,

28/09/2011 16:30:35
Living in the West central Scotland is enough to depress anyone. Have you ever been to Ayrshire? Never seen anyone smile there, they are all miserable and dour. Let's mention some other names and see if we get a smile, North lanarkshire, South lanarkshire etc


28/09/2011 17:09:18
Cannabis for depression = US Government patent 6630507....


28/09/2011 17:41:38
#15 Not much of a football fan, then, as true fans can not change sides.

Sir Clive,

28/09/2011 18:52:38
Sport is the answer. Instead of wasting money on wars and windmills, build world class indoor facilities. In the words of General Douglas MacArthur - the playing fields were where I learned discipline, teamwork, sacrifice and endeavour.


Livingston 28/09/2011 19:30:34
10 - Scotland one o' the worst countries in the world ? Ye should emigrate tae Somalia, plenty o' sunshine there !


Livingston 28/09/2011 19:31:24
11 - if ye work ye should get a WAGE !


edinburgh 28/09/2011 20:56:32
They've realised what a mistake voting SNP was. Figures. Now we are stuck with them for 5 more years.


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