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.