Trends in service use and treatment for mental disorders in adults throughout Great Britain

T S Brugha, P E Bebbington, N Singleton, D Melzer, R Jenkins, G Lewis, M Farrell, D Bhugra, A Lee, H Meltzer

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102 Citations (Scopus)


Background Trends in health treatments and outcomes in the general population may be used to monitor achievement of health targets. Aims To investigate changes in mental health services and treatment in Britain over a 7-year period. Method National surveys of psychiatric morbidity were completed in 1993 and 2000 in households throughout Great Britain. Standardised interviews were used to establish psychiatric case status and service and treatment utilisation in adults aged 16-64 years. Results Use of psychotropic medication doubled in those designated as psychiatric cases. In the non-case-status population antidepressant use rose from 0.16% in 1993 (95% CI 0.07-0.25) to 2.02% in 2000 (95% CI 1.69-2.35). However, the overall prevalence of neurotic and psychotic disorder hardly changed from 1993 to 2000. Use of specialised 'talking treatments' did not increase significantly, except in the non-case group. Conclusions Treatment with psychotropic medication alone is unlikely to improve the overall mental health of the nation. A policy based almost exclusively on treatment of identified cases should be augmented by preventive approaches. Declaration of interest None. Funding detailed in Acknowledgement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378 - 384
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue numberNOV.
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


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