According to today’s Guardian
“The use of antidepressants has risen by more than a quarter in England in just three years, amid fears that more people are suffering from depression due to the economic crisis. The number of prescriptions for antidepressants increased by 28% from 34m in 2007-08 to 43.4m in 2010-11, according to the NHS information centre”.
But elsewhere of course there are doubts regarding the usefulness of such treatments, for example according to a “meta-analysis carried out by evolutionary psychologist Paul Andrews, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour. His findings suggest that people who have not taken medication for depression are at a 25 per cent risk of relapse, compared to 42 per cent or higher for those who have taken and gone off an anti-depressant”.
Furthermore “Paul believes that anti-depressants interfere with the brain’s natural self-regulation of serotonin and other neurotransmitters, and that the brain can overcorrect once medication is suspended, triggering new episodes.”
(See links here and here for full details)