Recent study findings that anti-depressants do not have a clinically significant effect in most cases, appear to support long-argued claims by mental health campaigners that anti-depressants are overprescribed.
The mental health charity Rethink reports that antidepressants are overprescribed and that millions are not receiving the psychological therapies that could help them recover. Most GPs admit they are overprescribing anti-depressant drugs and say more access to psychological ‘talking’ therapies would be helpful.
Guidelines recommend that a range of psychological therapies should be available on the NHS. But many people with depression are still not getting access to these effective alternatives to pills.
Last year, the Government announced an increase in funding for talking therapies. They intend to increase spending on psychological therapies to £30 million this year.
However, this is still more than ten times less than spending on anti-depressants.
Evidence shows that psychological therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are at least as effective as pills, and can benefit people with severe mental illness as well as those with mild depression.
Mental health campaigners want to make sure talking therapies reach every person with a mental illness who wants them.
Experts warn, however, that people who have been prescribed anti-depressants should not stop taking them without talking to a doctor. As suddenly stopping medication can be very dangerous, anyone who is concerned should seek medical advice.