Doctors admit over-prescribing drugs for depression

Doctors may soon revert to prescribing more talking therapies, after admitting they hand out 'too many' anti-depressant drugs.

New figures have shown that the number of pills being prescribed grew from 15 million per year in 1998 to 50 million in 2012/13. Not only that there have been huge geographical differences, with many areas outside of London among the worst affected.

The starkest differences included Brent in North London and the seaside resort of Blackpool. Whilst there were only 71 anti-depressant prescriptions handed out in Brent per 1,000 patients last year, the figure in Blackpool was 331 per 1,000 patients.

Much of this growth was said to have occurred during the global financial crisis, when the years between 2008 and 2012 sent those with extreme money worries to their GPs in droves, notes.

Although doctors have admitted they may be over-prescribing the drugs, some have claimed a lot of blame could fall at the door of big pharmaceutical companies, which are forcibly pushing their own products on already stretched GPs.

Commenting on the trends, senior GP and contributor to the British Medical Journal Dr Des Spence told "We do over-prescribe.

"There needs to be a recognition among doctors that this is a problem because there is a lot of denial. We've got into this mindset that depression is a chemical imbalance and that giving a tablet is going to make it better."