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Anti-Depressant Use Rises in Cornwall

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1:55pm 13th August 2013

There is a big rise in the number of anti-depressants being dished out in Cornwall.

Pirate FM has seen new statistics showing prescriptions have gone up a third in three years.

In 2012 GPs handed nearly 650,000 to patients.

West Cornwall mum Lauren has taken the pills in the past and says they helped: "You're still yourself, you still have your personality, it doesn't change you in any way. It just lightens your surroundings a little bit when you're in a dark, dark place. It gives you a little bit of light, a little bit of motivation and a little bit of self-esteem to figure out what it is you need to do to improve your life.

"For some people they are the right thing, but possibly there is another group of people who are being given treatment for clinical depression when actually it's the circumstances they're living in, it's their lifestyle. Perhaps primary care givers don't have the resources or the time to really find out what's causing that depression."

Health bosses say some of the increase is because people are more likely to ask for help. But, it is feared the recession could be behind it too.

Sue Smith from NHS Kernow told Pirate FM there are other factors: "Depression is more common in people who are facing more difficult social and economic circumstances. We have issues around employment rates and certainly worries and concerns people have around finances can be a very key factor in what can be a start of a journey for somebody around depression.

"We need to remember that anti-depressants are not tranquilisers. They're not addictive in that format so they're used for short sharp periods in people's lives and there is evidence to show that for, some people, they need to be used to support for longer periods, so between six and nine months."

1:55pm 13th August 2013

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