Huge rise in men­tal health drug pre­scrip­tions across Tay­side

Nhs fig­ures show amount of drugs handed out has grown steadily over the last decade

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - NEWS - Na­dia vidi­nova nvidi­nova@the­courier.co.uk

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.”

Pic­ture: Ge­orge Mcluskie

Louise Smith has cre­ated an ini­tia­tive to boost pupils’ men­tal well­be­ing.

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