The number of children in the UK prescribed anti-depressants increased
by more than 50 per cent between 2005 and 2012, according to a new
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said the use of the drugs to treat
young people was a concern, the BBC said.
After fears that anti-depressants could lead to suicidal behaviour in
young people, usage in Britain fell, but the study suggests there has
been a resurgence in the UK as well as in other Western countries.
Commenting on the results, WHO director of mental health Dr Shekhar
Saxena said: "Anti-depressant use amongst young people is and has been
a matter of concern because of two reasons.
"One, are more people being prescribed anti-depressants without
sufficient reason? And second, can anti-depressants do any major
He also said that the organisation was worried that young people were
being given drugs not licensed for under-18s.
The study, "Trends and patterns of antidepressant use in children and
adolescents from five western countries, 2005-2012", is published in
the European Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.
In the period examined, there was a 54% increase in the number of
young people prescribed anti-depressants in the UK.
This is compared with rises of 60% in Denmark, 49 per cent in Germany
and just 26 per cent in the US and 17 per cent in the Netherlands, the