Nick Harrop, a campaign manager at YoungMinds, supporting young people’s mental health and wellbeing, said antidepressants for children should never be the only course of action. “GPs all too often prescribe antidepressants to young people because they don’t know what else to do,” he told The Huffington Post.
When we set out to restore GSK’s misreported Study 329 of paroxetine for adolescent depression under the RIAT initiative, we had no idea of the magnitude of the task we were undertaking. After almost a year, we were relieved to finally complete a draft and submit it to the BMJ, who had earlier indicated an interest in publishing our restoration. But that was the beginning of another year of peer review that we believed went beyond enhancing our paper and became rather an interrogation of our honesty and integrity. Frankly, we were offended that our work was subject to such checks when papers submitted by pharmaceutical companies with fraud convictions are not.
A new review finds that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) can help stave off recurring depression as effectively as antidepressants. People suffering from depression who received the mindfulness therapy were 31 percent less likely to suffer a relapse during the next 60 weeks compared with those who did not receive it, Willem Kuyken of the University of Oxford, in England and his co-authors reported in a meta-analysis review in Wednesday's issue of the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
For the New York Times, Cornell psychiatrist Richard Friedman proposes new regulations to make direct-to-consumer drug ads reveal the relative price and effectiveness information that is currently hidden. “Drug companies might legitimately complain that there are many reasons a drug might fail to outperform a placebo besides ineffectiveness: quirks in the design of a trial; patients who were not typical of those with the disease; a dosage that was too low. But then the company should be happy to explain this to the public, since the goal is education, right?”
Multiple media sources are reporting on new data from the CDC revealing a substantial increase in the suicide rate in the United States between 1999 and 2014, with a steep increase in rates among girls and women. Few report, however, that the percentage of Americans on antidepressants has nearly doubled over this period.
A study, comparing the effects of antidepressants combined with psychotherapy for severe depression to antidepressants alone, has been retracted and replaced by JAMA Psychiatry. The errors, once corrected, “have not changed the final conclusion of this study—that cognitive therapy combined with antidepressant medication treatment enhanced rates of recovery relative to treatment with medication alone,” according to the authors. A related, follow-up study, covered by MIA, including first author, Steven Hollon, also found that “patients with more severe depression were no more likely to require medications to improve than patients with less severe depression.”
I lived through forced ECT from 2005-2006 at the Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut. My experience with ECT was the impetus for me to become involved in the antipsychiatry and Mad Pride movements, although I am not entirely opposed to voluntary mental health treatment. The following is the comment I submitted to the FDA on its proposal to down-classify the ECT shock device.
A new study, published in JAMA Neurology, found that older people who regularly took anticholinergic drugs, including certain cold medicines or antidepressants, had poorer cognitive skills and lower brain volumes. “I certainly wouldn’t advise my grandparents or even my parents to take these medications unless they have to,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Shannon Risacher, told Time magazine.
The medication left me emotionally numb, making it impossible to connect with people or sense the aliveness of the world around me. But after two years on antidepressants, I found something that gave me jolt of feeling strong enough to wake me up for a moment. I then spent the next seven years giving myself daily doses of horror to induce an emotional reaction.
The Roanoke Times medical column takes on the question, “Can antidepressants lead to suicidal thoughts and actions?” concluding that “it is crucial for patients and their families to be alerted to this potentially deadly side effect.”
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently issued a controversial recommendation that all adolescent and adult patients undergo depression screening in primary care. The Wall Street Journal has published a back and forth on this issue between Richard Chung, a pediatrician, and Allen Frances, the well-known academic psychiatrist, entitled “Should All Teens Be Screened for Depression?”. While Chung argues that early diagnoses may lead to better outcomes, Frances insists that screening will lead to the medicalization of normal adolescence and worries that “teens may be haunted for life by carelessly applied labels.”
A new study finds that prenatal exposure to antidepressant drugs, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, is associated with higher rates of depression in early adolescence. According to the research, published this month in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, children exposed to SSRIs during pregnancy were diagnosed with depression by age 14 at more than quadruple the rate of children whose mothers were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder but did not take the drugs.
New data reveals that the majority of care homes in British Columbia, Canada are giving out prescriptions for antidepressants and antipsychotics without a diagnosis. According to a report by the Times Colonist, “there are a whopping 54 homes in which 40 percent of the residents are taking antipsychotics without a diagnosis.”
The New York Post reprints an excerpt on antidepressants from the latest book by MIA contributor, Kelly Brogan, MD, “A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives.” “I find it outrageous that drug companies can use any number of tactics to establish efficacy, including the suppression of data, and then use those tactics to legitimize long-term prescribing with no thought or attention to the real side effects over time,” she writes.
“Adolescents whose mothers took certain antidepressants while pregnant with them are more than four times as likely to become depressed by age 15, compared with children whose mothers had psychiatric disorders but didn’t take the medication during pregnancy,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
Researchers found that pediatricians vary greatly in how often they diagnose and prescribe drugs for ADHD and other mental health conditions. “The proportion of kids diagnosed with ADHD at each practice ran anywhere from 1 percent to 16 percent -- making it the disorder with the greatest variability.”
“In 2003, Kim’s husband, Tim ("Woody") Witczak, sought help for insomnia. His doctor prescribed the antidepressant Zoloft. Five weeks later, Witczak's father found Woody dead, hanging from the rafters of the couple's garage in south Minneapolis. Soon after, the widowed Witczak launched a national drug safety campaign to assure stronger safety measures for psychiatric drugs, including black box suicide warnings to protect those at-risk for devastating side effects.”
Brian Daniels writes in the Belfast Telegraph that the role of antidepressants in the Germanwings Flight 9525 crash needs to be investigated. “The safety of psychiatric drugs, especially antidepressants, has been questioned for years now and, with so many violent deaths and suicides linked to their use, public safety is being compromised.”
Since the 1980s, antidepressant use has risen by at least four-hundred percent and obesity rates have climbed to include thirty percent of the population. Now, researchers from Australia have published a review to determine whether this increased exposure to antidepressants is contributing to the rising obesity rates.
When I was born, everyone was expecting me to have arms. The doctor’s mind raced; how am I going to tell this mother and the father that their son has hands but not arms? If he’s missing so much in his extremities, mustn’t he also be missing a mind? My mom looked into my eyes and knew – in a way that only mothers know – that I had a mind, and spirit.
Eleanor Morgan writes in the Guardian opinions that the long waiting times for talk therapy and the increasing use of drugs in the UK is a result of the declining budget for child and adolescent mental health services. According to a leaked report, on average, a child had to wait twenty-one weeks (nearly half a year) to see a mental health specialist.
A Sydney, Australia law firm has launched a class action on behalf of people who as children and adolescents were prescribed Glaxosmithkline's drug Paroxetine. Despite GSK-funded research that claimed the drug was safe for adolescents, the firm says, re-examination of the actual trial evidence has shown a "quite striking" rise in suicidal ideation in those taking the drug. A spokesman for the firm notes that "none of the SSRIs is approved for the treatment of MDD [major depressive disorder] in children or adolescents in Australia, but these drugs are being used for this purpose."
BBC news conducts a video interview with a young man named George. He was prescribed antidepressants when he was 15, after only a five-minute consultation. He explains how the exacerbated his problems.
Researchers from the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB) found that antidepressants weaken bone growth which can disrupt procedures like tooth implants. “While these drugs are often used to manage mood and emotions,” they write “a side effect decreases the regulation of bone metabolism, which is crucial to the healing process.”
Last year the British Medical Association (BMA) released a report on dependence and withdrawal from prescription drugs including benzodiazepines, z-drugs, opioids, and antidepressants. Now, in light of their findings, the BMA is commiting to changes to medical practice, policy, and research.
Copyright © 2016 Mad in America Foundation.