The number of antidepressants being prescribed to patients in England has risen since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in 2016.
A new study revealed that the use of drugs such as Prozac has increased by more than 13 percent compared to other drugs since the referendum. Researchers linked the rise of antidepressant use to the uncertainty of many over the future of the country.
Antidepressant Use Rises In The UK
Researchers from King's College London and Harvard University probed into the effects of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union to the mental health of the country's citizens. The team looked at records of antidepressant prescription from 2011 to 2016 and compared it to the data on other drugs unlikely used to affect feelings of uncertainty or depression.
While both categories have seen an increase every year before the referendum, the researchers found that antidepressant prescription continued to increase since 2016 while the use of other drugs saw a decline. The findings were published in the journal BMJ.
"But in the month after the referendum, DDDs for antidepressants continued to rise, albeit at a slower pace, but those for the other drugs fell, having experienced a period of growth," Sotiris Vandoros, from King's College London and one of the authors of the study, told The Huffington Post.
The only exception was the prescription for muscle relaxants, which has already been in decline.
People Regretting Brexit Vote?
Vandoros warned that the study was observational and, therefore, could not offer a confirmation that Brexit has caused the increase of antidepressant use in England nor does it reveal a rise in the number of people with depression. Their findings are open to interpretation, but the researchers believe that the referendum might have triggered the increase.
David Cummins, a lecturer from Salford University who is not involved in the study, added that both Brexit and depression are two very complicated topics. He, however, admitted that austerity is a driver of a lot of concerns.