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Are Anti-Depressants Contributing to Teen Suicide?

Posted in Blog, Health News on May 09, 2014

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NPR recently reported about the dangers of high-dosage anti-depressants being prescribed to American teenagers. Some believe that even what are considered “therapeutic” doses of anti-depressants can lead to increases in suicide attempts and thoughts of self-harm in young adults. Others believe that the benefits seen from treating young adults with anti-depressants outweigh the disadvantages.

According to the Center for Disease Control’s 2011 data, one out of every 13 teenagers in America attempts to commit suicide within a 12-month period. Half of the teenagers that end up taking their own lives were diagnosed with clinical depression prior, and oftentimes they had been prescribed anti-depressants within a few months of their death. However, correlation does not equal causation, and it is still unknown as to whether or not anti-depressants are directly causing thoughts of suicide and suicidal behavior.

Interesting information released by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has added to the idea that SSRI anti-depressants increase the overall risk of suicide in children and teenagers. In 2004, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) released a warning driven by the NIMH to make the public aware of the alleged risk. The FDA eventually extended the warning to apply to all adults under the age of 25.

Even though the guidelines for prescribing anti-depressants to young adults are clear in starting off with a small dose and adjusting accordingly, there are some doctors that still prescribe initial dosages that are higher than the recommended standards. If you have a child that is being prescribed anti-depressants, it is important to be aware of the dosages prescribed and the reasons behind the prescription itself. For the full NPR article, click here to read on.

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