A Nation of Pill Poppers? We’d Rather Walk or Talk!

A recently published study by Nuffield Health has raised headlines across the national press claiming that GPs are turning Great Britain into “a nation of pill poppers” as GPs are turning to prescription medication to treat individuals suffering from mental health concerns, such as anxiety, whilst ignoring other valuable options such as exercise or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) counselling with a psychologist.

The study involved 2,000 individuals and of those surveyed, 44% stated that they regularly (at least once a week) suffered from anxiety symptoms and 1 in 5 were living with anxiety issues that arose on a daily basis. In perspective, this could suggest that, if these figures are representative across the nation as a whole, in the region of 23 million people within the UK could be suffering from regularly occurring anxiety symptoms. Additionally, the study further shows that early indicators of mental health concerns, such as low mood, are also on the increase.

However, rather than considering the full range of treatment possibilities available to help individuals deal with and overcome mental health issues, the study shows that GPs are 46 times more likely to prescribe medication than these other medically proven alternatives such as exercise or counselling.

Despite the apparent reliance by GPs on prescription medication when treating patients with mental health concerns, research suggests that the majority of individuals who seek help from GPs would in fact prefer not to be give pills as the first response and would rather explore other treatment options that are available to them. Indeed, a spokesperson for Mind, the mental health charity, stated in response to the study findings, “We urge health professionals to take alternatives such as exercise seriously and consider a range of treatments that offer more choices for individuals”

The Harley Psychology & Therapy Group is a team of Clinical and Counselling Psychologists who specialise in CBT and a range of other evidence based counselling and therapy techniques. The therapists here are all doctors of psychology whose training is regulated by The Health Care Professions Council and they are all chartered to practice by The British Psychological Society. They are able to deliver the most up to date treatments for a range of problems including anxiety, panic, stress, phobias, depression, low self esteem, chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep problems, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Our therapists are trained to work with adults, children and couples and can offer marriage counselling, bereavement counselling, child counselling, CBT and many other effective counselling and therapy treatments.


If you are suffering with any of the issues discussed in this article and would like to seek professional help then you may find our page about Mental Health problems useful.

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