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Updated: 11th December 2018

Antidepressant Prescription Statistics UK – This Antidepressant Survey Reveals the Latest Statistics You Need to Know

 
A 2000 respondent survey, commissioned by Chemist 4 U, have unearthed the most up to date antidepressant prescription statistics and has revealed thoughts and trends around using the drug to tackle mental health. The survey revealed that over a quarter of UK individuals suffer from a mental health condition. This is what else was uncovered…

 

 Antidepressant Stats Key Takeaways:

 

 

Poor mental health is a subject that is commanding more attention than ever before, and is gradually being taken more and more seriously by the general public, medical professionals and employers.

 

As a result, talking about mental health appears to be slowly becoming less of a taboo, with action being taken both nationally and internationally - such as the founding of C.A.L.M (the Campaign Against Living Miserably), and the Global Mental Health Initiative - in order to reduce its effects and support those who are suffering as a result of it.

 

Recently, the specialists at Chemist 4 U - the online pharmacy - conducted a survey with a respondent group comprised of 2000 individuals in order to reveal the quantifiable facts surrounding mental health in the UK and to gather the most up to date source of UK antidepressant usage statistics for 2018.

 

28% of the respondents of this survey said they currently have, or have previously had mental health conditions.

 

The study focused primarily on the prescription and use of antidepressants across the country, and the resulting data has now been combined with facts and figures gleaned from responses to NHS Freedom of Information requests to help us fully understand the UK’s antidepressant statistics.

 

The results were surprising and, in some cases, shocking. Take a look below for some of the key discoveries.

 

UK Mental Health Statistics

 

Out of 2000 respondents of our antidepressant usage survey, a massive 28% said that they currently have, or have previously had mental health issues.

 

That’s over 1 in 4 people in the UK who are suffering from a mental illness.

 

 

However, just 79% of the respondents of Chemist 4 U’s survey who said they have (or previously had) mental health conditions had received this diagnosis from a doctor, and only 73% had actually received professional help for their issue.

 

 

22% of this group said they wouldn’t visit their doctor because they don’t like to admit there is a problem, while 15% had been put off seeking medical help because they’ve had bad experiences with poor services in the past.

 

And what’s more, only 22% of those with a mental health condition would say that the help they received from their doctor to treat the illness was very effective.

 

 The Current State Of Mental Health In The UK

 

 

  • 68% of those with mental health conditions were prescribed medication for depression
  • 59% of those with mental health conditions suffered from anxiety
  • 18% of those with mental health issues were given antidepressants due to feelings brought on by Christmas time
  • 11% of those with mental health conditions suffer from S.A.D
  • 9% of those with mental health conditions suffer from an eating disorder

 

 UK Antidepressant Statistics - All You Need To Know 

While depression is just one of a myriad of existing mental health conditions in the UK, those suffering from other issues often find themselves suffering from depression or anxiety as a side-effect of the struggle to manage their situation too.

 

In fact, a massive 68% of those with mental health conditions suffer from depression in the UK. And a further 59% also suffer from anxiety.

 

Of the individuals with current or previous mental health conditions who took part in Chemist 4 U’s antidepressant usage survey, 81% actually took antidepressants, while 37% had turned to herbal remedies to treat their mental health condition instead and 27% of this group of respondents took other mental health medications on top of antidepressants.

 

15% of those with a history of mental health conditions admitted taking antidepressants that weren’t originally prescribed to them to help manage their mood.

 

Only 30% of the individuals who had experienced poor mental health said that they found antidepressants very effective, while 17% said that they were not effective at all.

 

What Is The Cost Of Antidepressants In The UK?

Our Freedom of Information Request submission found that;

  • In 2016, the cost of antidepressant prescriptions in the UK was £266,511,830
  • In 2017, the cost of antidepressant prescriptions in the UK was £235,043,428
  • In 2018 (in October), the cost of antidepressant prescriptions in the UK was £171,050,172

 UK Antidepressant Prescription Statistics

 

General Antidepressant Prescription Statistics

 

In the year 2016 - 2017, around 64 million antidepressant prescriptions were issued in the UK alone. This is just over 2.5 million fewer prescriptions than there are individuals living in this collection of countries.

 

After submitting a Freedom of Information Request to NHS England, Chemist 4 U found that a massive 58,721,177 antidepressant statistics were issued up to October 2018, Which is just over 5 million under last years average with 2 months before the end of the year.

 

 Antidepressant Usage By Demographic

 

 Antidepressant Usage By Age

 

The following chart reveals the number of antidepressant prescriptions that were issued to members of each age group throughout the year 2016 - 2017.

 

Chemist 4 U’s statistical research found that in amongst the number of prescriptions issued in the UK in 2016-7, 21,297 antidepressant prescriptions were issued to those under the age of 12.

 

 

As you can see from the above figures, there is a clear rise in the number of prescriptions issued up until it peaks at the 50-54 age group.

 

After this, it falls gradually and consistently throughout the remaining age groups - though it isn’t a perfect arc by any means, as the total number of prescriptions shown for the final 90+ age group still sits far higher than those shown for the 7-12 and 13-17 age groups combined.

 

 Antidepressant Usage By Mental Health Grouping

 

  • 75% of those with mental health conditions aged 18-24 are taking antidepressants
  • Compared to 82% of those aged 25-34
  • 82% aged 35-44
  • 87% of 45-54-year olds
  • And 76% of those aged 55+

 

The 18-24 age group contains the largest number of people who used antidepressants that weren’t originally prescribed to them.

 

28% of people within this demographic admitted to doing so - a number that equates to seven times the number of people aged 55+ who do this.

 

Of all the members of this same age group who used antidepressants, only 33% would say that they were very effective. 40% of members of 18-24 year olds who have mental health conditions in the UK have opted for herbal remedies instead of medication.

 

Of all respondents aged 55+ who used antidepressants, only 25% said they were very effective, with almost 30% saying they were not effective at all.

 

 Antidepressant Usage By Region In The UK

 

 

  • 93% of those in Northern Ireland with mental health conditions are taking antidepressants
  • 90% of those with mental health conditions in East Anglia are taking antidepressants
  • 90% of those in the North West are taking antidepressants for their mental health conditions
  • 89% in Scotland with mental health conditions are taking antidepressants
  • 85% of those in the East Midlands with mental health conditions are taking antidepressants
  • 83% of people in the North East are taking antidepressants for their mental health conditions
  • 81% in the South East with mental health conditions are taking antidepressants
  • 80% of those in London  are taking antidepressants for their mental health conditions
  • 78% of those with mental health conditions in the West Midlands are taking antidepressants
  • 75% of those from Yorkshire and the Humber are taking antidepressants for their mental health conditions
  • 74% of those with mental health conditions in the South West are taking antidepressants
  • 68% of those in Wales are taking antidepressants for their mental health conditions.

 

 How Much Do Antidepressants Cost The UK NHS?

And in a recent Freedom of Information Request submitted by Chemist 4 U to NHS England, the top regions that were issued antidepressant prescriptions last year was revealed too.

Cost Of Antidepressants On The NHS In London

  • In 2016, London were issued 5,772,657 prescriptions, costing the NHS £25,517,807
  • In 2017, London were issued 6,056,985 prescriptions, costing the NHS £23,390,347
  • In 2018, London were issued 5,285, 347 prescriptions, costing the NHS £16,724,019 (as of October 2018)

Cost Of Antidepressants On The NHS In The Midlands & The East

  • In 2016, Midlands and East of England were issued 19,870,983 prescriptions, costing the NHS £77,435,725 
  • In 2017, Midlands and East of England were issued 20,763,468 prescriptions, costing the NHS £69,729,577 
  • In 2018, Midlands and East of England were issued 18,128,940 prescriptions, costing the NHS £52,189,134 (as of October 2018)

Cost Of Antidepressants On The NHS In The North

  • In 2016, North of England was issued 22,712,939 prescriptions, costing the NHS £90,360,747 
  • In 2017, North of England was issued 23,731,395 prescriptions, costing the NHS £77,594,956 
  • In 2018, North of England was issued 20,691,496 prescriptions, costing the NHS £55,114,649 (as of October 2018)

Cost Of Antidepressants On The NHS In South

  • In 2016, South of England was issued 16,159,579 prescriptions, costing the NHS £72,396,489 
  • In 2017, South of England was issued 16,849,657 prescriptions, costing the NHS £63,866,112 
  • In 2018, South of England was issued 14,565,891 prescriptions, costing the NHS £46,870,086 (as of October 2018)

 

 Antidepressant Usage Statistics By Season

 

Throughout the Chemist 4 U survey, the changing seasons were shown to have a profound effect on the mood and mental health of its respondents.

 

In fact, a huge 60% of our 2000 respondent survey said that dark mornings make them feel unhappy in the winter, while 58% said that cold weather negatively affected their mood. This trend continues in the group of respondents who had a history of poor mental health, with 47% saying that the colder, darker months made their mental health symptoms worse. Other issues that caused our respondents to suffer low mood throughout winter included general stress (23%) and work-life stress (18%).

 

 

The largest percentage of individuals who described a strong negative seasonal effect on their mental health were those aged 33-44, of whom 20% of antidepressant users had been prescribed their medication for low mood as a result of Christmas time.

 

 

Christmas also prompted a considerable response throughout the survey. 25% of the overall study group said that financial worries made them feel unhappy around Christmas, with 20% of those surveyed saying that this particular mental struggle stopped them from enjoying Christmas day.

 

 

16% of respondents with mental health conditions said that the Christmas period in general actually made their condition worse.

 

Other factors that had a negative impact on mood included stress at work - which made the mental health of 59% of the Chemist 4 U survey respondents worse, and stress at home, which affected almost 50%.

 

These antidepressant prescription statistics were compiled by both data from a 2000 respondent survey, commissioned by Chemist 4 U, and Freedom Of Information requests submitted to various governing bodies. They reveal the overall state of mental health in the UK and antidepressant usage in the UK, which in some places is surprising.


If you are struggling with mental health, need guidance or just somebody to talk to, then you can contact The Samaritans who are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help.


If you want the full data which we used for our findings, click here.

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