Anti-depressant use in Gloucestershire increasing

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The number of prescriptions for anti-depressants in Gloucestershire has risen by 45% over the past four years.

Figures show more than 150,000 prescriptions were made out for the drugs between April and June last year.

NHS Gloucestershire said GPs would consider what was best for each patient and non-drug approaches were always considered in mild to moderate cases.

Mental health charity Mind said although effective, anti-depressants should be prescribed with caution.

"We have seen over recent years an increase in investment for counselling and other drugs and therapies... they can be really beneficial," a spokeswoman said.

'Boom years'

"Unfortunately despite government investment lots of people are still waiting a long time for those treatments.

"Mind's research found one-in-five people wait over a year for something so doctors feel they may not have any other option," she added.

Churchdown GP Dr Tim MacMoreland said he was not surprised by the figures.

"This is the trend we've seen for many years - it's not just recently there's been increases in anti-depressants.

"Between 2000 and 2005 there was a similar increase and those were during the boom years when people supposedly had lots of money in their pockets

"Anti-depressants do play a part but we tend to use a raft of different measures including talking groups and more recently self-help books," Dr MacMoreland added.

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