20% OF OLDER PEOPLE ARE TAKING ANTI-DEPRESSANTS!
The number is rising every year. Have they become the new ‘go-away pill’ of the year. In the quick-fix, cure-all, out-of-sight, out-of-mind GP service and the bed-blocked, older-people-are-a-constant-nuisance NHS.
A double page spread in The Times, 21 July would seem to suggest that the epidemic of loneliness amongst the increasing population of older people is being treated this way. A map in the article charts the level of prescriptions for depression in different areas of the country. Best not live in the North of England, nor Lincolnshire or East Anglia. And don’t try escaping to Torbay or the Isle of White. These are all areas with the highest rates of prescribing anti-depressants and not coincidently the highest rates of older people in the population.
The investigation finds that 7.3 million people are being prescribed anti-depressants. This is a number that has doubled in the last decade and surprise, surprise, the elderly are the greatest ‘beneficiaries’.
Feel fed up – take a pill. Not been out lately – take another. Too many repeats on the tele – a pill might take the boredom away. Lost a friend – a pill will help you forget. Forget and a pill could help with that too. Anti-depressants are rapidly becoming the new ‘go-away pill’ for older people.
GP’s are busy people and they can’t be expected to cure-all the ills of modern-day society, but anti-depressants are a quick out-of-the-door solution. Pills are free to the elderly, but talking to them takes time. Social clubs cost money, just like meals on wheels, day care, home visits and a little attention. It used to be called compassion.
It’s easy to blame GP’s but the reality is, its society as a whole that marginalises older people. That in turn creates the epidemic of loneliness.