Recent research has shown that more than twice as many antidepressants are prescribed per person in the north east than the south east of England.
The number of antidepressants prescribed in England as a whole has increased by seven times during the last twenty-five years, a new study of NHS data has revealed.
Research company Exasol discovered that in 2016 doctors made 64 million prescriptions of antidepressants as compared to just 9 million in 1991.
But antidepressant use has significant regional variations. Last year, north east doctors made 1.73 prescriptions of antidepressants per person whereas doctors in the south east and London only made 0.82 such prescriptions.
Exasol – using data from every pharmacy in England – found that the highest rate of antidepressant prescriptions was in Blackpool, at 2.11 per person.
The second highest rates were found in Sunderland and East Lindsey in Lincolnshire (both had a rate of 1.99 prescriptions per person) and that third highest rate was in Durham (1.91 prescriptions per person).
Around one in six adults are regularly prescribed antidepressants in Blackpool, Redcar, Durham, Middlesbrough and Sunderland.
The areas with the lowest prescription rates were all in the capital, with doctors in the London borough of Brent only prescribing anti-depressants to one in 23 adults.
The researchers say that the rate of antidepressant use is related to levels of poverty and deprivation, stating there is “a clear link to deprivation in the north and north east of England.”
Figures from 2013 showed that the average salary in the north east was £24,084 while in London it was £35,238.
There may also be a link between large-scale prescriptions of antidepressants and the patchy availability of other ways of tackling depression, such as therapy sessions.
Antidepressants are used to treat a range of conditions such as clinical depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.
On a brighter note for the north east, however, a recent survey named Newcastle as the happiest city in Britain and one of the happiest cities in Europe.