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Antidepressant use in England has risen after Brexit vote, figures show

The use of antidepressants in England has risen considerably compared to other prescription drugs since in 2016 UK's 2016 decision was withdrawn from the European Union.

Debates about Brexit's merits have dominated British political discourse for more than two years, shared families and communities, and triggered panic-like contingency plans from businesses in Brussels.

But relatively little attention was paid to the effect of Brexit – and the long-term uncertainty that hardened the process – the impact on the mental health of the population.

The researchers at King's College London investigated the official monthly requirements of antidepressants in all 326 polling districts in Britain, compared with other drug categories in the referendum of 23 June 2016 and the following weeks.

Given that the Brexit result was surprising to have "caused significant uncertainty" on the British economy and society, the authors of the study wanted to see whether this was a major antidepressant use.

After calculating the "specified daily dose", in order to properly compare the different types of drugs, it was found that after the vote, the volume of antidepressants increased by 13.4% compared to the other drugs tested.

"This shows that after Brexit referendum, the relative antidepressant increased in England compared to other drug classes used in the control group," said Sotiris Vandoros, London College and Harvard University Assistant. .

Although it is difficult to control the outcome of the vote in the increase in antidepressant use, Vandoros said that growth was significant compared to other forms of prescription drugs.

"Increasing literature suggests that economic insecurity may have a negative impact on mental health," he said.

"Insecurity and concerns at work are linked to poor health in relation to future finances, and any event that creates uncertainty and anxiety can have a negative impact."

Given that antidepressants are not all prescribed, the authors of the study believe that the results can not mean that the national mood has deteriorated as a whole after Brexit's vote.

Moreover, the rebel supporters of the British volunteer break-through could see their mood in the wake of the referendum as the only major trading partner.

But Vandoros said that any other equal result of shock vote and subsequent confusion was the "likely explanation" behind the relative increase in antidepressants.

According to a study published in Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, governments should do more to provide advice and support on mental health issues during political and economic uncertainty.

Allan Young, professor of the King Psychiatry Institute of Psychology & Neuroscience, who did not attend the study, said his findings should be treated with great caution.

"Antidepressant recipes have steadily increased in England in recent years, and these data can simply reflect just one event as a single event," he said. "However, mental health issues must be supported."

Prime Minister Theresa faces a number of difficulties facing the final Brex in the queue when Britain leaves the block in March, the British will clarify at least soon the future of their country – better or worse.

"When the United Kingdom leaves the EU, we begin to see reality about the expected events," said Vandoros. "This way, it replaces uncertainty with some positive or negative results."

© 2018 AFP

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