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Tuesday, 31 July, 2001, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
Depression levels high in Scotland
Depressed man
Depression was high among the 25 to 44 age group
People in Scotland are suffering from high levels of depression and hypertension, according to the latest NHS figures.

Depression was the most common condition recorded by family doctors last year at 152 per 1,000 members of the population.

And coming in second was hypertension at 143 per 1,000 of the population.

The data, posted on the NHS Scotland Information and Statistics Division website, showed that stress-related illnesses hardly figured in the top five reasons for consulting GPs until people reached their mid-twenties.

For us one of the big things we have to combat is people's urge not to talk

Samaritans spokeswoman
However, between 25 and 44, depression and anxiety were the top two reasons why women consulted their family doctor and the second and third most common reasons for men.

Hypertension was the most common reason why men visited their general practitioner between the ages of 45 and 64 and the third most common reason for women of all ages.

Scots in the 45 to 64 age group continued to suffer high levels of depression and anxiety, both of which were recorded in the top five complaints.

Between the ages of 65 and 84 hypertension was recorded as the most common reason for going to the doctor irrespective of gender.

On the whole however women, appeared to suffer more from stress-related illnesses than men.

Women as a whole consulted their GP for depression at a rate of 214.9 per 1,000 population, while hypertension accounted for 167.1 and anxiety 117.3.

Stress 'on the increase'

Men consulted their GP most often for hypertension at 119.2 per 1,000 population, with depression accounting for 88 while anxiety failed to make the top five.

The Samaritans said stress-related illnesses were "very much on the increase" with more work-days lost to stress than the common cold.

A spokeswoman added: "There are all kinds of standards that we are measuring ourselves against, be that peer pressure, hierarchical pressure in the workplace or work loads.

"One of the big problems in Scotland in particular is the suicide rate among young men.

"Again this is a combination of the macho stereotypes people are feeling they have to live up to and anxieties about the future and the fact that they don't feel they can talk to anybody about it.

'Bottling up problems'

"Women are also being told they should be able to juggle all elements of life.

"For us one of the big things we have to combat is people's urge not to talk.

"That's when things become a problem, when it gets bottled up."

The data on the ISD website was based on GP consultations from a sample of 55 Scottish general practices.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive said mental health "continues to be a top clinical priority for NHS Scotland".

She added: "More than 20% of adults are affected by mental health problems and as the figures released today show, presentations to GPs will include many people with anxiety or depression.

"Not all will need hospital treatment and many will have their condition alleviated through early identification and appropriate supportive interventions."

See also:

21 Jun 01 | Health
Post-natal depression
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