Anxiety disorders have soared since credit crunch

According to official figures, the number of us being treated for anxiety disorders has quadrupled over the past four years

The credit crunch has affected more than our wallets according to hospital statistics that show the number of outpatient appointments for those suffering from anxiety disorders has soared since the onset of the recession.

Experts claim the rise could be blamed on an increase in mental health problems triggered by financial insecurity and job stress.

The NHS Information Centre shows outpatient appointments for those diagnosed with anxiety disorders and panic attacks rose from 3,754 to 17,470 between 2006/2007 and 2010/2011, while hospital admissions rose by a third.

And psychiatrists say this is just the tip of the iceberg as most people who visit GPs with signs of anxiety will be prescribed medication such as Prozac and Valium, rather than given a hospital appointment.

Dr Joanna Moncrieff, a consultant psychiatrist at North East London NHS Foundation Trust believes too many of us are being given medical diagnosis for feelings that are perfectly normal considering the financial circumstances.

‘GP’s don’t have time to talk to patients about why they are really unhappy, it’s easier to treat situations as a standard,’ she says.

Dr Moncrieff says that we are more likely to suffer from stress and anxiety when we have money or job stresses, but that treating these cases as medical disorders does little long-term good.

Between 1.5 per cent and 3.6 per cent of the UK population suffer symptoms which meet the medical definition of an anxiety disorder. So what should we be doing about it? Let us know your thoughts on the treatment of mental health problems in the box below.

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