Post-viral fatigue drives up sales of antidepressants

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post-viral fatigue

MADRID – Post-viral fatigue is one of the terms that marks 2020 and also looks likely to dominate the beginning of 2021. As a result, there has been extreme rise in the sale of antidepressants and hypnotics in Spain.

Spaniards seem to seek their salvation in medication rather than therapy. Around ten months ago, the State of Alarm was declared with a lockdown in Spain due to the corona pandemic. In the months that followed, strict measures of varying degrees followed.  The consequences for the economy are huge. There have been bankruptcies, business closures, rising unemployment and countless entrepreneurs and households sinking deeper and deeper into debt.

No one can say exactly how long the lockdowns, restrictions and reports of hundreds of deaths per day will continue. This lack of a dot on the horizon is causing so-called post-viral fatigue not just in Spain but all over the world.

Almost 5 percent more antidepressants sold

Fatigue, depression, feelings of hopelessness and stress regarding the loss of a business or job are causing the exorbitant increase in the sales of antidepressants, medications for anxiety disorders and sleeping pills.  On Monday, Spanish news site El Español wrote, “From March to November 2020, sales of antidepressants increased by 4.8% compared to the same period in 2019”.   

More sleeping pills in Spain also sold

It also appears that sales of sleeping tablets and hypnotics have increased by 23.3% since the outbreak of the corona pandemic compared to 2019. Since the pandemic, insomnia has increased by 60% in Spain. Experts claim that sleep deprivation is the leading cause of all mental illness, emerging as a result of the pandemic.

Addictive effect

Buying these drugs seems a logical consequence of the increasing psychological problems. However, the downside is the addictive effect of many substances and also that their effect can diminish over a period of time. Campos is concerned about the well-being of the people who buy these drugs and advocates monitoring the use of medication along with therapy for the patient. “If people can just keep buying and taking all kinds of pills, the problem will become even greater in the long term than it already is.”

Increase in the number of reports of emergency services in Spain

Another consequence of the health crisis in Spain is the extreme increase in the number of calls to emergency services. Since March, 122,392 calls have been registered, a whopping 47% more than in the same period in 2019.  50% of callers are between 46 and 65 years of age. Since March, the number of suicide attempt reports has nearly doubled from 2,012 in 2019 to 3,952 since March 2020.

Demand for psychologists stays the same

7,944 people called the emergency services because they were lonely, suffered from depression, anxiety and mental illness. It is striking in this respect that the demand for a meeting with a psychologist this year is almost the same as in other years. While according to experts, therapy should be one of the first steps to solve a problem. The figures now indicate that Spaniards prefer to turn to medication.

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