Huge rise in mental health drug prescriptions across Tayside
Nhs figures show amount of drugs handed out has grown steadily over the last decade
Prescriptions for mental health drugs have almost doubled over the past 10 years, new NHS figures reveal.
A total of 1,149,216 prescriptions for antidepressants, ADHD drugs and medicines to treat conditions such as psychoses and dementia, were recorded in Tayside and Fife in 2016-17.
A decade ago, prescriptions totalled 648,968 and the number grew steadily year-on-year, with the largest overall increase observed in dementia treatment.
Prescriptions for dementia drugs have more than tripled since 2006/7.
The news comes shortly after Mental Health Awareness Day, which aimed to give mental health staff, patients and other stakeholders a platform to share experiences and discuss what needs to be done to improve care.
NHS Tayside interim clinical director for mental health and learning disability services Dr Stuart Doig said: “Drug therapy can be important in helping people recover from a mental illness, as well as help prevent them from relapsing or preventing their condition deteriorating.
“Not all mental health conditions require drug treatment and some conditions may respond to psychological, educational or social interventions.
“However, it is increasingly common that patients receive a combination of drug therapy and these other interventions to help them recover from their illness.”
Dr Doig explained antidepressants are used for a range of medical conditions, such as chronic pain, meaning a rise in prescribed items does not necessarily mean a rise in rates of mental health problems.
He added increased public awareness of mental health conditions means people are more likely to seek support from their doctor.
Dr Doig said: “Another important point is that the number of items prescribed is not the same as the number of people receiving prescriptions and there will be variation in the number of items prescribed to a person in a year depending on how often they receive prescriptions.
“Increased levels of identification and diagnosis of mental health conditions, including dementia, means that more patients are accessing important treatments that can improve the quality of life for them and their families.”
Louise Smith has created an initiative to boost pupils’ mental wellbeing.