15 May, 2022 @ 12:45
1 min read

Pill-popping nation: Spain tops anxiety medicine use in global ranking

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SPAIN consumes more medication to treat anxiety than any other country in the world. 

The greatest amount of benzodiazepines, a drug used to help anxiety and insomnia, are taken in Spain than in any other country. 

In 2021 an average of 110 people in every 1000 were taking at least one dose of benzodiazepines per day in Spain, according to the latest report from the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), a United Nations agency monitoring the consumption of legal drugs.

Over the last ten years the number of people taking psychotropic drugs in Spain increased from an average of 82.50 daily doses per thousand people to 93.04. 

A significant part of this decade-long increase was made over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Data from the Ministry of Health shows that more than a third of Spaniards suffer from mental health issues.

The Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU) said that the high numbers of Spaniards taking medications to help their mental health is down to: “the lack of an adequate response by public health to mental health problems.”

The OCU criticised the way mental health is dealt with in Spain: “General practitioners have very little time to attend to patients, and the tools or specialisation in psychotherapy are not always available to deal with them. And so, prescriptions are thrown around. An effective short-term solution, which is not exempt of risks, and that does not solve the problem in the long run.”

The number of psychologists available per 100,000 people in Spain is just a third of the European average. 

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