The rise in antidepressant prescriptions is not due to more consults for depression.
Figures show that in 2002-3, among women, there were 84 GP consultations in 1,000 for depression. By 2005-6, this had dropped to 65. Consultation rates for men in Scotland also fell, from 37 to 30 over the same period.
Additional arguments for the increase in prescriptions of antidepressants are:
1. guidelines suggesting people stay on antidepressants for longer periods to reduce the risk of a relapse into depression
2. doctors are now prescribing antidepressants for conditions other than depression such as anxiety disorders. These have an even higher prevalence than depression.
3. less stigma for mental illnesses