GPs prescribing anti-depressants too easily, say experts

Health experts claim GPs are are giving out anti-depressants too easily, according to

New research has found that doctors are 46 times more likely to prescribe pills for mental illness such as depression than they are to recommend alternatives. These could include measures such as counselling courses or exercise.

The study was commissioned by healthcare provider Nuffield Health. A total of 2,000 people were questioned as part of the research. Results showed that out of those quizzed, 44 per cent said they suffer from anxiety symptoms regularly. This is up 33 per cent from before the recession hit five years ago. The number experiencing low mood has also risen from 31 per cent to 39 per cent in that time period.

A mere one per cent were recommended to try exercise to relieve symptoms of low mood or anxiety by their GP, whereas 46 per cent were prescribed anti-depressants.

Experts in the industry have said that the problem is so bad that it is causing a "ticking mental health time bomb in the UK".

Talking about the findings, Beth Murphy, head of information at the mental health charity Mind told "Mind has found that people who do regular exercise or take part in ecotherapy activities such as gardening can improve their mental well-being and reduce feelings of depression."

She continued: "We urge health professionals to take alternatives such as exercise seriously and consider a range of treatments that offer more choice for individuals."