Brexit Depression? Prescriptions for Antidepressants Surged in England During Brexit Vote in UK
Brexit causing depression (Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons)

In what is seen as an indicator of public sentiments, the prescriptions or antidepressants surged in 2016, ahead of Brexit vote in England. Findings of a new research that showed the impact of the epoch-making move on the people of England. The volume of antidepressant drugs shot up by 13.4 percent in comparison to the other drugs. On its own, the data doesn’t prove anything. But experts opine that Brits may be driven to buy the psychiatric medication due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. The researchers who conducted the study are of the opinion that mental health services during crucial times should be intensified.

UK and Brexit

On June 23, 2016, UK expectedly exited out of the European Union (EU) in a move termed as Brexit. The decision concerns among the common public about the future of the British economy and society.

Leaving the EU meant areas such as free trade, immigration and social services would be affected. During the time, it was even claimed that Brexit could affect the right of EU nationals to work in the UK and vice versa. Antidepressants May be Contributing to Weight Gain, Claims a New Study.

There were fears of a potential economic downturn. While the majority voted for leaving the EU, the governor of the Bank of England warned that the standard of living could plummet, inflation would rise, job cuts may happen and even a recession may be there in the offing.

The Research

The research was conducted by King’s College London and Harvard University to determine whether the voting had any impact on the mental health of the people. They surveyed 326 voting areas in England and studied the sale of antidepressants. It was then compared to the sale of prescription drugs for other health conditions such as gout, iron deficiency and thyroid problems.

The study, which was then published in the British Medical Journal or BMJ, showed that there’s a 13.4 percent increase in the sale. The findings of the study gave more credibility to the belief that the nation’s socio-economic events can have a large impact on the mental health of the people.

Such symptoms are also seen in countries that experience terrorist attacks, where the mental health of the people takes a hit. The study mentions extensive reports of mental health deteriorating in a country when there are economic recessions. It also improves significantly when the economy improves. Cases of suicides and negative mental health outcomes increase.

Reference: Vandoros S, Avendano M, Kawachi I The EU referendum and mental health in the short term: a natural experiment using antidepressant prescriptions in England J Epidemiol Community Health Published Online First: 21 November 2018. doi: 10.1136/jech-2018-210637