Antidepressant-Suicide Link Questioned: Antidepressant Prescriptions Down, Suicides Up

The Lancet reports on work by biostatistician Robert Gibbons, casting doubt on the relatively new concern that antidepressants may increase suicidal ideation in depressed patients, particularly children and adolescents:

“The black box warning had seemed to change the prescribing behaviour of doctors, with fewer of them prescribing antidepressants for fear of being sued. “More than 30 000 people die a year by suicide in the US, more than in the Vietnam war or from HIV/AIDS, and it’s a huge and overlooked public health issue”, he said. “Since 2004, there’s been a dramatic drop in prescriptions of antidepressants and a rise in suicides, the largest increases in [US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention] monitoring, which is another piece of the evidence.”

via Antidepressant-suicide link in children questioned : The Lancet.

One Comment to “Antidepressant-Suicide Link Questioned: Antidepressant Prescriptions Down, Suicides Up”

  1. I previously had fairly severe depression and was given antidepressants to combat it. 20 years old, severe depression, non suicidal, 20mg citalopram increasing to 60mg at this period.

    My take on the antidepressant-suicide link – while antidepressants do help combat depression and ultimately are useful they (as everyone knows) make the patient indifferent most everything. So someone with the pain of depression may still feel strongly against suicide and the thought of not returning to their pre-depression enjoyable life, the antidepressant lessens this objection and I personally found suicide a more viable option because of this (suicide almost always being a last resort to escape the sadness of depression rather than self harm/punishing type behaviour also seen with depression). However, antidepressants also help depression and (hopefully) lessen the duration and intensity the patient is depressed. Both duration and intensity, to me, were very much related to my thoughts on suicide. As time goes on despite the larger objections of a non-medicated patient to suicide the thought that depression will never end and living depressed is too painful to endure may overcome the dislike of such a drastic measure. Myself, I had attempted, now I’ve recovered I am incredibly glad it was unsuccessful.

    Thus as a previously depressed patient I believe that both the antidepressant-suicide link and the inverse proportion of prescriptions to suicides are correct. My suggestion is the analysis of the data was faulty, they neglected to take into account the effect of removing antidepressants on the severity of depression.

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