In response to a question asked by the Liberal Democrats the Government has published official figures to show the extent of the prescription of anti-depressants in under-18s.
The report shows that more that 84,000 under-18s were prescribed anti-depressants last year. A statement from the Department of Health said: “It is important to note that some of the drugs in the Parliamentary Question, while they may be classified as anti-depressants, are used for other disorders such as bed-wetting, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorders and phobic states.
“Given the large range of anti-depressants in the list, it cannot be assumed that they were all used to treat depression in children.”
Paul Burstow, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman for Westminster, said: “Despite warning by experts that prescribing anti-depressant medicines for children and young people can lead to an increased risk of suicide, these figures show doctors have carried on regardless.
He also criticised the “over-reliance” on anti-depressants and called for more talking therapies to be made available.