Tag: Childhood depression
The promotion of SSRI antidepressant use began with the pharmaceutical industry and occurs despite evidence that these drugs are harmful, not helpful, in children and adolescents.
The medicalisation of our emotional lives has led to a horrific cultural shift in which we, and our children, have become alienated from and suspicious of our emotions, chipping away at our natural resilience.
The only way out of the epidemic of feeling-people-turned-medicated-psychiatric-patients is to rebrand and reframe feeling as a cultural collective. And I believe it starts with our messaging as parents and our orientation toward shadow elements like anger and sadness. We have to model a conscious relationship to our own dark parts, and we have to show our children what it looks like to move through these spaces. Feelings can be messy, wild, and sometimes ugly to our constrained sensibilities.
When I was training to be a child psychiatrist in the mid-1990s, childhood depression was considered to be rare, related to adversity, and generally unresponsive to pharmaceutical treatment. Since then much has changed. The psychiatrization of the pain and struggles involved in growing up has caused considerably more harm to young people than good. I believe the science is on my side in this conclusion.
For the past several years whenever a critical essay has come along examining the work of Irving Kirsch and his colleagues I have made an effort to examine the validity of the proposed arguments. Kirsch and his colleagues used the Freedom of Information Act to gain access to the unpublished trials of antidepressants and then pooled the clinical trial data – both published and unpublished ─ and analyzed it as a single data set. It is common for pharmaceutical companies to only publish those studies that find their products effective, and to withhold the negative studies, making it difficult to reach accurate conclusions by examining only the published data. Kirsch and his colleagues have reported that in the company sponsored clinical trials, the SSRIs only marginally outperform placebo, with the difference being statistically different but not clinically significant.