DISTURBING report finds that 20 million American schoolchildren have been prescribed antidepressants


Image: DISTURBING report finds that 20 million American schoolchildren have been prescribed antidepressants

In many ways the world is a far more complex, difficult place to live in now than it was 20 or 30 years ago. Social media places children under increasing pressure – and at an ever decreasing age – to look perfect, have limitless “friends” and lead apparently perfect lives. Many parents work longer hours than in previous decades, leaving them with little time and energy to spend with their kids. And children are under immense pressure to perform academically and on the sports field.

In previous years, kids could generally be found playing outside with their friends or chatting to them on the phone, but modern society leaves children isolated from one another, spending more time with virtual “friends” than real-life ones. Many spend most of their time online, hardly ever venturing outside.

This toxic mix of external pressures and isolation can leave children, particularly those struggling through adolescence, feeling depressed and confused. The solution for many parents and healthcare professionals is to simply prescribe them antidepressant medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This “solution” is so widely favored, in fact, that a disturbing report by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights found that around 20 million American schoolchildren have been prescribed these dangerous drugs.

Antidepressant use in children rises sharply in seven years

Antidepressant medications are, in fact, not recommended for children under the age of 18, but you would never know that if you were to judge by the way doctors hand out prescriptions for these drugs like candy.

Mother Nature’s micronutrient secret: Organic Broccoli Sprout Capsules now available, delivering 280mg of high-density nutrition, including the extraordinary “sulforaphane” and “glucosinolate” nutrients found only in cruciferous healing foods. Every lot laboratory tested. See availability here.

According to the Daily Mail, a study recently published in the European Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, which studied antidepressant use in children under the age of 18 in five western countries, found that there was an alarming increase in the number of prescriptions for these drugs between 2005 and 2012.

In Denmark, prescriptions for children increased by 60 percent; prescription numbers soared more than 54 percent in the United Kingdom; in Germany, they rose by 49 percent; the United States saw a 26 percent increase; and there was a 17 percent increase in antidepressant prescriptions for children in the Netherlands during that period.

This is shocking because a 2016 study published in the respected British Medical Journal, which evaluated the mental health of 18,500 children prescribed antidepressant medications, found that not only are the benefits of these drugs “below what is clinically relevant” (i.e. they don’t work), but children taking them are twice as likely to exhibit suicidal or aggressive behaviors than children who do not.

The study also found that the drug manufacturers are not only aware of this fact but that they actively try to hide the risks by labeling suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts as “worsening of depression” or “emotional liability” rather than admitting that they are side effects of the medication.

“Despite what you’ve been led to believe, antidepressants have repeatedly been shown in long-term scientific studies to worsen the course of mental illness — to say nothing of the risks of liver damage, bleeding, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and reduced cognitive function they entail,” warned holistic women’s health psychiatrist, Dr. Kelly Brogan, writing for Green Med Info. “The dirtiest little secret of all is the fact that antidepressants are among the most difficult drugs to taper from, more so than alcohol and opiates.

“While you might call it ‘going through withdrawal,’ we medical professionals have been instructed to call it ‘discontinuation syndrome,’ which can be characterized by fiercely debilitating physical and psychological reactions. Moreover, antidepressants have a well-established history of causing violent side effects, including suicide and homicide. In fact, five of the top 10 most violence-inducing drugs have been found to be antidepressants.”

This doesn’t mean that our children need to be left to struggle through depression and isolation without any help, however. Experts recommend family, individual and other therapies, lifestyle changes including exercise and dietary changes, and spending more time outdoors with family and friends as healthy, side-effect-free ways to help kids cope.

Learn more about the dangers of antidepressant drugs at Psychiatry.news.

Sources include:

GreenMedInfo.com

Independent.co.uk

DailyMail.co.uk

ScienceDaily.com

Advertisements

Study suggests a direct link between screen time and ADHD in teens


Image: Study suggests a direct link between screen time and ADHD in teens

Adding to the list of health concerns associated with excessive screen time, one study suggests that there could be a link between the length of time teenagers spend online and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The two-year study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), observed more than 2,500 high school students from Los Angeles.

Digital media and the attention span of teenagers

A team of researchers analyzed data from the teenagers who had shorter attention spans the more they became involved in different digital media platforms for the duration of the experiment.

The JAMA study observed adolescents aged 15 and 16 years periodically for two years. The researchers asked the teenagers about the frequency of their online activities and if they had experienced any of the known symptoms of ADHD.

As the teenagers’ digital engagement rose, their reported ADHD symptoms also went up by 10 percent. The researchers noted that based on the results of the study, even if digital media usage does not definitively cause ADHD, it could cause symptoms that would result in the diagnosis of ADHD or require pharmaceutical treatment.

Experts believe that ADHD begins in the early stages of childhood development. However, the exact circumstances, regardless if they are biological or environmental, have yet to be determined.

Adam Leventhal, a University of Southern California psychologist and senior author of the study, shared that the research team is now analyzing the occurrence of new symptoms that were not present when the study began.

The power of the elements: Discover Colloidal Silver Mouthwash with quality, natural ingredients like Sangre de Drago sap, black walnut hulls, menthol crystals and more. Zero artificial sweeteners, colors or alcohol. Learn more at the Health Ranger Store and help support this news site.

Other studies about digital engagement have implied that there is an inverse relationship with happiness. The less people used digital media, the more they reported feeling an overall sense of happiness. (Related: The social media paradox: Teens who are always online feel more lonely.)

The researchers concluded that the teenagers might have exhibited ADHD symptoms from the outset due to other factors. However, it is possible that excessive digital media usage can still aggravate these symptoms.

Fast facts about ADHD

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is commonly diagnosed in children. However, it can also be diagnosed in older individuals. ADHD can be difficult to diagnose. Since several symptoms of ADHD are similar to normal childhood behaviors, the disorder itself can be hard to detect.

The symptoms of ADHD may include forgetting completed tasks, having difficulty sitting still, having difficulty staying organized, and having trouble concentrating or focusing.

  • Men are at least three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than females.
  • During their lifetimes, at least 13 percent of men will be diagnosed with ADHD, as opposed to only 4.2 percent in women.
  • The average age of ADHD diagnosis is seven years old.
  • The symptoms of the condition will usually manifest when a child is aged three to six years old.
  • ADHD is not solely a childhood disorder. At least four percent of American adults older than 18 may have ADHD.

This disorder does not increase an individual’s risk for other conditions or diseases. However, some people with ADHD, mostly children, have a higher chance of experiencing different coexisting conditions. These can make social situations, like school, more difficult for kids with ADHD.

Some coexisting conditions of ADHD may include:

  • Anxiety disorder
  • Bed-wetting problems
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Conduct disorders and difficulties (e.g., antisocial behavior, fighting, and oppositional defiant disorder)
  • Depression
  • Learning disabilities
  • Sleep disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Tourette syndrome

Minimize your child’s ADHD risk by reading more articles with tips on how to manage their internet use at Addiction.news.

Sources include:

Lifezette.com

Healthline.com

Managing type 1 diabetes in adolescents and kids : New position statement by ADA


https://speciality.medicaldialogues.in/managing-type-1-diabetes-in-adolescents-and-kids-new-position-statement-by-ada/

Adolescents with chronic liver disease have higher rates of anxiety and depression


Young people who have undergone liver transplant (LT), or have autoimmune liver disease (AILD), or other chronic liver diseases have higher rates of depression and anxiety than the general adolescent population, according to a study presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) 2016 held in Athens, Greece.

To assess the prevalence of anxiety and depression in young people with LT, AILD, or chronic liver disease, 232 young people attending a liver transition clinic were given an electronically-administered questionnaire, 187 of whom participated in this study. [ESPGHAN 2016, abstract H-O-007]

Almost 18 percent of young people (mean age 18 years) attending the clinic reported having anxiety and depression, with 9.7 percent reporting probable major depressive disorder (MDD), and 2.2 percent having suicidal ideation. About 14 percent had probable anxiety disorder, with 5.4 percent having severe anxiety symptoms.

“These [findings] are higher than the estimated prevalence rates of anxiety or depression in the general adolescent population [about 6 percent],” said the study authors.

The most common reasons cited for distress were fatigue (42.3 percent), money problems (30.8 percent), worry (30.2 percent), problems at work or school (29.1 percent), low self-esteem (27.5 percent), and sleep difficulties (27.5 percent).

Items on the questionnaire pertained to concern and understanding of illness, impact of illness on life (consequences), how long the participants expected to have the illness (timeline), symptoms experienced (identity), and emotional effects of illness (emotional response). Participants were also asked if they thought treatment could help them with their condition (treatment control), and the amount of control they thought they had over their illness (personal control).

Elevated levels of depression and anxiety were significantly associated with higher perceived illness consequences, identity, concern, emotional response, and reduced perceptions of personal control, while there was no association between depression or anxiety and understanding of illness or treatment control.

The authors advocated for routine holistic care which included mental health screening and interventions for illness beliefs for this age group.

Facebook affects stress hormone levels in adolescents


Facebook use can both spike and regulate the levels of stress hormone cortisol in teenagers, finds a new study by researchers at University of Montreal, Canada.

Having more than 300 Facebook friends increased teenagers’ levels of cortisol, the study found.

Facebook

On the other hand, teenagers who act in ways that support their Facebook friends – for example, by liking what they posted or sending them words of encouragement – decreased their levels of cortisol, Techvibes.com reported.

“While other important external factors are also responsible, we estimated that the isolated effect of Facebook on cortisol was around eight percent,a said lead researcher professor Sonia Lupien.

Participants were asked about their frequency of use of Facebook, their number of friends on the social media site, their self-promoting behaviour, and finally, the supporting behaviour they displayed toward their friends.

Along with these four measures, the team collected cortisol samples of the participating adolescents.

“We were able to show that beyond 300 Facebook friends, adolescents showed higher cortisol levels,” Lupien added.

None of the adolescents suffered from depression at the time of the study.

“We did not observe depression in our participants. However, adolescents who present high stress hormone levels do not become depressed immediately. It can occur later on,” Lupien said.

Later bedtime in adolescents, young adults tied to increased BMI


A later than average bedtime on weekdays is associated with an increase in BMI over time in adolescents and young adults regardless of sleep duration, according to research in Sleep.

In an observational study investigating the longitudinal relationship between bedtime and BMI, researchers found that each additional hour of delayed bedtime was associated with an increase in BMI of 2.1 kg/m² during the 15-year study period.

Lauren Asarnow

Lauren D. Asarnow

“We found that, in a sample of over 3,000 individuals, going to bed later between the ages of 13 and 32 was associated with weight gain over that same time period above and beyond what’s typical for that developmental period,” Lauren D. Asarnow, MS, of the University of California, Berkeley, told Endocrine Today.

Asarnow and colleagues analyzed data from 3,342 adolescents participating in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a study containing health and behavior data on U.S. adolescents aged 13 to 18 years in the first two waves (1994 to 1996), and again at age 18 to 32 years in the third and fourth waves (2001 to 2002 and 2008 to 2009). Sleep time and sleep duration were self-reported in all waves of the study; sleep diaries were not used. Researchers measured height and weight at each wave; BMI was converted to a z score. Questions assessing fast food consumption, screen time and physical activity were included as potential partial mediators. Researchers used hierarchal linear models using a two-level, random intercept and slopes model to test whether later bedtimes would be associated with an increase in BMI.

A later average workday bedtime was associated with an increase in BMI after controlling for baseline BMI, pubertal status, welfare status and sex. The association persisted after controlling for sleep duration, exercise frequency and screen time (P < .05), but fast food consumption was recognized as a significant partial mediator on bedtime and BMI longitudinally, according to researchers.

“Another interesting point, which was surprising to us, is this was true regardless of how much sleep you were getting,” Asarnow said. “Going to bed at 2 a.m., for example, even if you were getting 8 hours of sleep and waking up at 10 a.m., was associated with weight gain.

“We see this as potentially very good news,” she said. “Bedtime is a highly modifiable behavior. Dr. Allison Harvey and her research team in the Golden Bear Sleep and Mood Research Clinic are currently conducting a study, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, to see whether changing sleep habits effect weight gain, eating behavior and other outcomes like emotional health and academic performance. We are anxiously awaiting our results.” by Regina Schaffer

BRAIN IMAGING SHOWS BRAIN DIFFERENCES IN RISK-TAKING TEENS.


140815102326-large

According to the CDC, unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for adolescents. Compared to the two leading causes of death for all Americans, heart disease and cancer, a pattern of questionable decision-making in dire situations comes to light in teen mortality. Newresearch from the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas investigating brain differences associated with risk-taking teens found that connections between certain brain regions are amplified in teens more prone to risk.

“Our brains have an emotional-regulation network that exists to govern emotions and influence decision-making,” explained the study’s lead author, Sam Dewitt. “Antisocial or risk-seeking behavior may be associated with an imbalance in this network.”

The study, published June 30 in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, looked at 36 adolescents ages 12-17; eighteen risk-taking teens were age- and sex-matched to a group of 18 non-risk-taking teens. Participants were screened for risk-taking behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use, sexual promiscuity, and physical violence and underwent functional MRI (fMRI) scans to examine communication between brain regions associated with the emotional-regulation network. Interestingly, the risk-taking group showed significantly lower income compared to the non-risk taking group.

Dewitt paper“Most fMRI scans used to be done in conjunction with a particular visual task. In the past several years, however, it has been shown that performing an fMRI scan of the brain during a ‘mind-wandering’ state is just as valuable,”said Sina Aslan, Ph.D., President of Advance MRI and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas.“In this case, brain regions associated with emotion and reward centers show increased connection even when they are not explicitly engaged.”

The study, conducted by Francesca Filbey, Ph.D., Director of Cognitive Neuroscience Research of Addictive Behaviors at the Center for BrainHealth and her colleagues, shows that risk-taking teens exhibit hyperconnectivity between the amygdala, a center responsible for emotional reactivity, and specific areas of the prefrontal cortex associated with emotion regulation and critical thinking skills. The researchers also found increased activity between areas of the prefrontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens, a center for reward sensitivity that is often implicated in addiction research.

“Our findings are crucial in that they help identify potential brain biomarkers that, when taken into context with behavioral differences, may help identify which adolescents are at risk for dangerous and pathological behaviors in the future,” Dewitt explained.

He also points out that even though the risk-taking group did partake in risky behavior, none met clinical criteria for behavioral or substance use disorders.

By identifying these factors early on, the research team hopes to have a better chance of providing effective cognitive strategies to help risk-seeking adolescents regulate their emotions and avoid risk-taking behavior and substance abuse.