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Depression Kills. Antidepressants Save Lives.

Depression is the leading cause of suicide.

Suicide is the third-largest killer of children and young adults between the ages of 10 and 24, and is a growing problem amongst middle aged and elderly adults.

Knowing this, scientists and researchers the world over have devoted time and energy to improving treatment approaches, including studies focused on the efficacy of antidepressant medications.

The news is encouraging.

Common antidepressants reduce the risk of suicide in adults, according to work recently completed and published by Italian scientist Corrado Barbui of the University of Verona.

Barbui and his team reviewed data collected in eight previous studies that included over 200,000 patients. They focused on selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressants. The team found that the drugs cut suicide risk by more than 40 percent among adults and over 50 percent for elderly people.

Despite the obvious value to adults, researchers still suggest caution when using antidepressants to treat children and adolescents. With this in mind, closer monitoring, such as regular meetings with a therapist or counselor, should be part of the treatment protocol for those under 18.

"Data from observational studies should reassure doctors that prescribing (the drugs) to patients with major depression is safe," wrote the Italian team.

The news is good indeed. Depression kills. Treatment works.

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Comment by Kate McLaughlin on April 15, 2009 at 12:37am
You are not alone, Christine. Medication, properly administered and combined with appropriate adjunct treatment, improves and saves millions of lives. Simple as that.
Glad you're feeling better.
Comment by Christine Mack on April 14, 2009 at 4:05pm
I have to tell you that I take anti anxiety medicine...curbs depression. I feel like a person now instead melting down all the time. My thoughts are clearer, my life calm. Never had thoughts of depression but I did wish that I could just die. I will never stop taking them until the reason for anxiety is gone. They only work good with counseling. It helps you heal. I was depressed because I was a victim of incest. Many factors cause depression. I had been against medicine for years but now I am reformed. Tom Cruise can kiss my rearend. My mom and dad think that I am crazy for taking it..because they think that I am crazy. You can bet they aren't in my life anymore. Now that I am functioning and taken care of myself I am a much better mother. How is that crazy?
Comment by Kate McLaughlin on April 14, 2009 at 3:48pm
You make valid points; and those responsible for health care decisions must be well-informed before making those decisions. Nonetheless, denying the efficacy and well-documented, scientifically determined, life-saving effects of antidepressants is like throwing out the baby with the bath water.
Comment by Jennifer Nordin on April 14, 2009 at 11:25am
ALL depression is a function of biology, catagorizing it into situational and clinical boxes is a huge reason why mainstream mental health "care" is failing to address the underlying origins of depression. That "thorough" medical exam that you recommend will not be all that helpful in most cases because the majority of mainstream doctors will not investigate or even consider sugar or hormone imbalances, yeast overgrowth, heavy metal poisoning, parasites, mineral deficiencies, birth trauma, etc. Whether the article I included was 15 months old or not, the positive effects of antidepressants ARE and continue to be overblown by doctors and media--I know plenty of individuals with personal experience on these drugs who would heartily concure.
Comment by Kate McLaughlin on April 13, 2009 at 6:16pm
Don't get me wrong, Jennifer, all prescription drugs have serious side effects that must always be considered before administration. But I must point out that the article you cite is 15 months old and is based on information far older than that. Much has been done in the intervening time to improve dosing, administration and monitoring.
In addition, there is a very real difference between situational depression, which would occur within some of the scenarios you mention, and clinical depression which is a function of biology. As a mental health advocate, I strongly recommend a thorough medical exam when parents are concerned about their kids' wellness. A holistic approach is vital. But I also know that antidepressants are literal life-savers in hundreds of thousands of cases, and they should not be denied if needed.
Comment by Jennifer Nordin on April 10, 2009 at 10:07pm
Does anyone ask what is causing all this depression? Suicide is the 3rd cause of death in children and young adults? Why? How about sugar or hormone imbalances, mineral deficiency, heavy metal poisoning, broken families, undue schooling stress, loss of moral restraints and security?? The positive effects of SSRIs are totally overshadowed by the health risks and side effects, one of which ironically is suicide. Here is a Wall Street Journal article about how effects are often overblown and falsely reported. Depression kills, let's find a treatment that doesn't!

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