Saturday, November 28, 2009

Antidepressants and Adolescents

In the past few years, there has been a heated debate over the safety and efficiency of antidepressant use in adolescents. But in our society today, researchers are finding that antidepressants are doing more good than harm. Studies are now stating that the bigger risk is not taking antidepressants when the teen is depressed or suicidal (Segal 1-2).

An antidepressant is a psychiatric medication used to alleviate mood disorders, such as depression. Medication commonly used to treat teenage depression are; Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, and Prozac. These drugs help elievate the uncomfortable, disturbing and even disabling effects of depression. But the biggest benefit a teen can get from taking antidepressants is the prevention of suicide.

Despite the apparent benefits, the controversy still remains. Do antidepressants increase the suicide rate in the teen population? In 2004, the FDA released a report stating that when teens were being treated with antidepressants, the rates of suicidal thoughts and actions increased in some of the teens. The same report stated that a large study found that the rates of suicidal thoughts increased, but none of the participants actually committed suicide (Baune 2). Conversely, in 2005 the Journal of the American medical association released a report looking at suicide rates in antidepressants. They found that between the years 2001 and 2003, more teens were being treated with antidepressants than ever before, yet this did not correlate with the number of suicides. In fact, there was not an increase of suicide rates at all during the years 2001 to 2003 (Baune 1).

Benefits a teen can obtain from taking antidepressants greatly outweigh the setbacks. Antidepressants are a proven treatment for depression, which can also lead to the prevention of suicide. All though this debate is two sided, the risks of leaving depression untreated is greater than uncommon risks that come with taking the antidepressant.


Scrubs said...

I dont really have an opinion on the subject. Antidepressants dont only help the person using the drug but it helps the people around them because depression is like a virus. It is easily spread. Especially to teenagers who have hormones rageing this way and that way. happy one minute down in the dumps the next. so i guess i actually support antidepressants.

The Italian said...

Why do Americans think we need drugs to solve all of our problems?? OH!, my TV broke, let's take a drug. Oh, I have the flu, let's take a drug. Oh, I have serious psychological problems, let's take 5 different drugs. These drugs are only temporary solutions, they only treat the symptoms, NOT the source. Look at the enviroment around the teen: school, friends, family, parents...any stressful enviroments? I think so.
Look at the chemistry of the teen:
do they consume healthy foods or do they drink 3 gallons of pop a day plus swallow 2 pounds of chips, cookies, and over-processed foods? Body chemistry (whether good or bad) can affect the way the brain functions, how the body functins, and hormone levels.

These antidepressants are just adding to the level of stress on the mind, body, and chemistry of the adolescent. After one pill wears off, they must take yet ANOTHER pill, ever worsening the situation.
One cannot only see the tip of the iceberg. One must dive below the icy water, brave the hardships and change, explore the entire iceberg, look at the causes of these symptoms.

iambroken said...

People take antidepressants due to depression because they lack this chemical in their body. By taking antidepressants those chemicals are produced which helps them cope with depression a lot easier. It shouldn't affect the suicidal rate just because they are taking the medicine. I think the word itself is pretty depressing. Antidepressant. When adolescents take those pills they are proven they are depressed so they need to take the medicine. The thought that they are labeled can, i guess, lead to suicidal thoughts... But I don't really understand why it should lead to any suicidal thoughts.

Germ-x said...

Antidepressants might as well be used. You can't solely rely on the medication to help solve your problems though. The teens need to talk with counselors and their parents in order for it to truly work. Just because you take a tiny pill, all your troubles aren't magically going to disappear.