BRIGHTON has seen an increase in the number of antidepressants prescribed by doctors over the past two years, new figures show.
Leading mental health charity Mind has suggested that an increase in the number of prescriptions across England could be a sign of a general deterioration in mental health.
Figures from the Open Prescribing Service show that the NHS Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group area issued 452,528 prescriptions for antidepressants in the year to March – a monthly average of 115.4 prescriptions per 1,000 patients.
That was a four percent increase over the previous year, when an average of 110.5 per 1,000 patients were administered, and an eight percent increase from 2019 to 2020.
Antidepressants are often prescribed to improve mental health, but can also be taken for conditions that are not directly related, such as depression. B. certain types of long-term pain.
However, the story is similar for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the most commonly prescribed antidepressants for mental illness in England.
These are thought to increase serotonin levels in the brain and are commonly used to treat depression and anxiety.
SSRI prescriptions increased from a monthly average of 55.8 per 1,000 patients in Brighton and Hove in March 2020 to 59.3 in 2022 – an eight percent increase.
In Brighton, SSRIs were prescribed 232,730 times last year – that’s 19,394 a month.
These numbers relate to the frequency with which drugs have appeared on prescriptions, but do not show the quantity of drugs administered, and multiple prescriptions may be issued to the same patient.
Mind says the pandemic may have caused a surge in conditions like depression, but many of those affected were reluctant to seek help at the time.
The charity’s information director, Stephen Buckley, said: “Recent data on increased prescription rates suggests people are once again turning to their GP for help.
“The increase in prescriptions may indicate that the prevalence of poor mental health has likely increased, which seems likely and reflects our own research.”
Across England, antidepressants appeared on 83 million prescriptions in the year to March, including 45 million for SSRIs.
This was an increase from 79 million and 43 million last year.
Mr Buckley said the surge could also be the result of more people coming in for treatment.
“The surge in antidepressant prescriptions being issued may also reflect a broader shift in social attitudes as stigma around mental health decreases and awareness and understanding improves,” he added.
A spokesman for NHS England said: “We know the pandemic has taken a toll on the country’s mental health, with record numbers of people coming forward for mental health care, and NHS staff are working hard to meet this demand.
“Decisions about the best treatment options are made by doctors in consultation with their patients, and drugs can be effective when used in conjunction with psychological therapies such as talk therapy.
“It’s important that people continue to reach out to get the support they need.”
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20675261.antidepressant-prescriptions-rise-brighton/?ref=rss Antidepressant prescriptions are on the rise in Brighton