Risk of Suicide Ideation from Antidepressant Usage in Adolescents

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In 2004, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other regulatory bodies (including Health Canada) issued stern warnings that a paradoxical risk of suicide ideation accompanied antidepressant usage in adolescents. Originally applicable to teenagers aged 13 to 17, the warnings were expanded to include young adults aged 18 to 24 in 2007 (U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2007). These warnings have eroded public confidence in antidepressants, causing fewer prescriptions to be issued (Gibbons, 2007). The FDA’s conclusion that newer antidepressants (SSRIs) cause suicide ideation in young people comes from a comprehensive review of all published and unpublished clinical trials. However, several prominent mental health experts dispute the validity of the FDA’s analysis and the recent decrease in antidepressant prescriptions has sparked an increase in youth suicide rates. The governmental warnings are actually harmful to adolescents, as SSRIs bring an advantageous risk to benefit ratio for suicide rates in the long term and can be safely used if properly monitored. Depression is a common disorder throughout the world that affects all age groups. Although rare in young children, depression disrupts the lives of many teenagers. In the United States, 11.2% of 13 to 18 year olds are affected by depressive disorders annually (National Institute of Mental Health). Depression during youth is particularly destructive since it not only causes a loss of relationships and

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