The largest-ever review of the effects of antidepressants on teens uncovered some incredibly disturbing findings, including that the drugs raise the risk of suicide in kids under 18. Now, this link is nothing new. We just reported in September that the selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drug Paxil was found to make teens suicidal.
In 2005, it was revealed that a Harvard psychiatrist and the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. hid a secret 1988 internal memo showing that Lilly’s own controlled clinical trials of the blockbuster antidepressant drug Prozac had a significantly higher rate of suicide attempts, hostility, violence, and psychosis than four other commonly used antidepressants in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
The shocker is not that the medications can be more dangerous than depression itself, but the fact that drug companies are still lying about it.
Researchers at the Nordic Cochrane Center, and University College London, analyzed 70 trials of the most common antidepressants, involving more than 18,000 people. They found that SSRI antidepressant drugs doubled the risk of suicide and aggressive behavior in teens under 18 years of age.
One child and adolescent psychiatrist cautioned against jumping to conclusions.
“The results from this study do not allow us to state that ‘antidepressants double the risk of aggression and suicide in children’,” said Dr. Mara Parellada, from the Complutense University of Madrid.
“There was no single death by suicide in children and adolescents in the 70 trials reviewed for the article.” 
But not so fast…
One pharmaceutical company misreported four deaths in favor of the antidepressant. That might not sound like much, but get this: over 50% of suicidal incidents were chalked up to “emotional liability” or “worsening of depression.”
Additionally, Eli Lilly – the same company that covered up the 1988 internal memo – recorded most of the deaths that occurred, but they failed to note 90% of the attempted suicides. Information on other outcomes was also lacking, according to Medical News Today.
Antidepressant use didn’t appear to increase suicidal ideation in adults, but there’s no way to know for sure; if drug companies are keeping the real numbers under wraps, the true statistic could be just as disturbing.
The authors wrote that the results were “even more unreliable than we previously suspected.” The researchers further stated:
“We suggest minimal use of antidepressants in children, adolescents, and young adults as the serious harms seem to be greater, and as their effect seems to be below what is clinically relevant.
Alternative treatments such as exercise or psychotherapy may have some benefit and could be considered.”
About 70% of people on antidepressants do not meet the criteria for clinical depression. This means that many children and teens are on these powerful brain drugs unnecessarily. And considering the human brain is not fully developed until age 25, SSRIs could be causing kids brain damage, not helping them to get better.
That frightening possibility is further supported by the fact that some scientists argue that depression was caused by low serotonin, only that increasing serotonin helped the symptoms of depression. If that’s the case, that means that antidepressants flood the brain with a hormone it doesn’t really need.
It doesn’t seem too far-fetched that these drugs would make young people suicidal.
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