Use of Psychiatric Services “Skyrocketing” in Turkey

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The number of people seeking psychiatric treatment in Turkey rose from 3 million people in 2009 to almost 9.2 million in 2013, according to a Turkish Ministry of Health review reported in the newspaper Sunday’s Zaman. The most frequently diagnosed illness is depression, and psychiatrist and professor Özgür Öztürk told Sunday’s Zaman that not only are ordinary family doctors prescribing them, but it’s also easy to obtain antidepressants in Turkey without a prescription. A pharmacist also spoke anonymously to the newspaper.

“For example, even if someone has ringing in his ear a physician will prescribe antidepressants because the nerves in that region are very sensitive and need to be sedated in some manner,” the Turkish pharmacist told Sunday’s Zaman. “Sales of antidepressants are driven in large part by this sort of over-prescription.”

The pharmacist said antidepressants had in a few short years become a major part of her stock. “Let me put it this way,” she told Sunday’s Zaman, “if there are three people that walk into my pharmacy, one of them will definitely buy antidepressants.”

Rates of psychiatric treatment triple, antidepressant use widespread (Sunday’s Zaman, August 24, 2014)

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