Suicidal Risks Among Antidepressants

Antidepressants have risen to the top spot as the most commonly prescribed class of medications in the U.S., according to a report published last year in the Archives of General Psychiatry. While there are a multitude of options when it comes to prescription antidepressants online, they all have one thing in common: a similar risk of suicide.

While antidepressants can increase suicidal thoughts and must carry a "black box" warning stating that they can increase a person's likelihood of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, there is very little difference between the many drug choices. The benefit is that doctors do not have to factor in this issue when prescribing an antidepressant, but rather base their choice on the needs of the patient and what they think will work best for them.

A recent study reviewed data on 287,543 adults living in Canada who had been prescribed antidepressants between the years 1997 and 2005. Of that group, 751 had attempted suicide and 104 completed the act. Evaluating the medications of those 854 individuals found that there was no discernable difference in risk between the more common SSRI meds (Prozac, Zoloft, Lexipro, Paxil, etc.) and tricyclic antidepressants (Elevil, Equilibrin, Noveril, among others).

Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are very often used to treat depression. Research published last December showed that patients who took this kind of antidepressant experienced more positive emotions, were much more outgoing and more emotionally stable in the long run. They showed substantial improvements in their depression when compared to those that were taking a placebo, and saw a significant decrease in neuroticism and an increase in extroversion when compared to those that were taking the placebo.

According to Columbia University researchers, there were around 27 million Americans the age of six and older by 2005 taking antidepressant medications. Also of note is the fact that antidepressant drug usage has increased, and the use of psychotherapy has decreased. In the past, medications in conjunction to psychological treatments were prescribed for treating depression, but prescription therapy is the more common approach these days.

With the growing concerns of Americans on the economy, increasing unemployment rates, foreclosures, and bankruptcy filings, the number of people developing depression symptoms is set to continue its climb upwards. Depression is a serious condition and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Seek medical attention if you or a loved one shows signs of depression.

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