Holistic Centre for Body, Mind & Spirit

Millions More given Pills by their Doctors to Fight Depression


Prescriptions for antidepressants and sleeping pills have surged in the past three years, with millions now relying on medication to keep stress and depression under control.

More than 43 million prescriptions for drugs to control depression were dispensed in England in the year to the end of March, according to figures published today. That represents an increase of 28 per cent since 2007-8.

Data from the NHS Information Centre also shows that the use of anti-anxiety drugs rose 8 per cent to 6.5 million prescriptions while the use of sleeping pills rose 3 per cent to 10.2 million.

The increase in prescriptions coincides with a period of economic uncertainty and an increase in unemployment, which experts say has had a significant impact on the number of people with mental health problems.

But Mind, the mental health charity, urged caution against blaming economic woes, saying that the increase can be traced back for almost a decade.

Sophie Corlett, Mind’s director of external relations, said: “As a society we may feel more willing to talk about depression and as a result be more likely to seek help. Doctors may have got better at spotting the signs but sometimes they may see antidepressants as their only option for patients when waiting lists for talking treatments are long.”

Last year Mind found that one in five people still had to wait up to a year for access to therapy.

A breakdown by region reveals the North West had the highest antidepressant use, with 7.2 million prescriptions dispensed. This was followed by the East of England (just under 5 million) and the South West (almost 4.7 million). Most sleeping pills were dispensed in the North West (just under 1.7 million) followed by the East of England (1.2 million) and the South West (1.1 million).

The increase comes despite efforts by the NHS to discourage doctors from prescribing antidepressants until other treatments have been considered.

Martin Barrow
Health Editor

Millions More given Pills by their Doctors to Fight Depression

Although people who experience depression have many common feelings and symptoms, each person’s story is unique. However, what we essentially find is that the wider the gap between a person living their true nature and way of being, as opposed to living out a restricted, adapted experience (often deemed as acceptable by themselves and others), the higher the risk of dissatisfaction and unhappiness in their lives.

Interestingly, many people can actually tell their own story quite well, and can even see that they are malfunctioning – but they see it all quite objectively, as if they were an outsider looking in on their own lives. We want to address this detachment, which means they cannot make the leap from talking about the way they are living to actually feeling it – and then actually doing something about it. Someone must feel their story in the heart - beyond an intellectual understanding - before real, deep truth can be reached and revealed. Once this point is reached – and with the correct support, then taking action will take care of itself.

Of course we all need to be able to manage differences and relationship dilemmas with maturity, but when there is too great a compromise then a person can begin to feel their own ‘self-betrayal’, and the emotional pain that goes with it.

Within a safe, non-judgmental environment our therapies and treatments provide the permission and encouragement for a client to look more honestly at their own story, their decisions and choices, and the consequences of these. This enables them to become more conscious to their own needs and to their own purpose, meaning and values. Connected to this, we often find that depression can be suppressed grief and rage, which arise as a consequence of a whole range of losses we have experienced within a lifetime. These losses remain unprocessed and therefore unfinished business. Taking care of this can happen quickly but for some, it can take some time.

People are often not conscious of how trapped they are, to the extent that they can lose sight of the fact that they are free to make new choices about their lives. We can provide a safe and supportive outlet for those repressed feelings, and help an individual to find the right way forward for them.