According to the NHS information centre the number of prescriptions for antidepressants have increased by 28% in the last three years. So, are we turning into a nation of prescription junkies?
The cost of depression to the NHS
Depression is an illness and those suffering from depression need help but when are we going to stop relying on prescription drugs? Depression is costing the NHS £11 billion per year in prescriptions, lost earnings and care. The amount of prescriptions have risen from 34 million in 2007-08 to 43.4 million in 2010-11.
In a recent article The Independent newspaper reported that Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat MP who commissioned the research said: “Failure to tackle depression hurts us all. It makes a misery of the lives of sufferers, costs the NHS in time and medication, and hampers business by forcing some people out of work.”
So is the NHS looking in the wrong place?
Could the NHS save money by addressing the fact that prescriptions are treating the symptoms rather than the cause? To some people antidepressants are a lifeline but to others who have been on them for years maybe the time is right to look elsewhere.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of the mental health charity Mind, said the tough economic times may have contributed to more people experiencing depression, but improved public awareness may also mean more people are seeking help.
Where else can people find help?
The ‘alternative therapy for depression market’ is growing. Therapies such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and Yoga are proven to provide an alternative to the prescription drug market.
One client with a history of depression had this to say about EFT:
“I did not know too much about it and didn’t think it would, or indeed could, work very deeply. How wrong I was. It helped me release a lot of pain that I had been carrying (that I was aware of but couldn’t access). It was quite remarkable. It was a very easily, powerful and a very healing experience. I was very impressed.”
In the words of Emer O’Neill, chief executive of Depression Alliance: “These uncertain economic times are linked to an increase in the number of people with the illness.”
Alternative therapies offer depression sufferers an alternative to prescription drugs. Perhaps the NHS would do well to take notice too.