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.

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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.

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15 Things People Who Deal With Suicidal Thoughts Want You To Know

Dealing with suicidal ideation isn’t uncommon, but because it’s so difficult to talk about, a lot of people have misconceptions about what it’s like, and what it is and isn’t.

Having persistent thoughts of suicide is known as suicidal ideation. People can have passive suicidal ideation – feeling like they want to die but not acting on it – or active suicidal ideation, which, like it sounds, includes making plans.

To help others better understand suicide and suicidal ideation, we asked the BuzzFeed Community what they wished other people understood about their experience. Hundreds of people reached out with their stories — heartbreaking and hopeful, personal and thoughtful — and here were some of the most common things they want more people to know:

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

1. Suicidal ideation isn’t always about wanting to die — it’s a lot more complicated than that.

It can be feeling like you don’t have another way to make the pain stop or hopelessness about the future. It can be indifference about life or the hope that an accident or disease takes the choice out of your hands. It can be about making reckless or self-sabotaging decisions. Everyone experiences it differently.

2. Not everyone who deals with suicidal thoughts is an active suicide risk.

When we talk about suicidal thoughts, a lot of people imagine it means someone is standing on a proverbial ledge. But suicidality exists on a spectrum, and passive suicidal ideation — meaning chronically not wanting to be alive, but not necessarily actively wanting to die — is a thing people often forget about.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

3. Plenty of people function day-to-day despite having suicidal ideation, so never assume you can tell what someone is going through.

For some, suicidal ideation is as ordinary as feeling hungry or tired. It gnaws at you, but you carry on anyway.

4. But that doesn’t mean it’s not exhausting, scary, or intense to deal with.

You can still struggle and need help and support even if you’re not an active risk for suicide — in fact, getting that help and support early is one of the important ways to lessen the chance of reaching the point when suicide becomes a real option.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

5. You don’t always “get over” dealing with suicidal ideation — plenty of people have developed ways to manage it.

Like many mental illnesses, suicidal thoughts can be something you live with and adapt to with proper treatment and support. You come up with an arsenal of coping skills, develop emergency plans, and learn how to identify signs that you need to reach out for help.

6. It can affect all kinds of people, no matter their gender, age, or life circumstances.

You don’t need a “reason” to feel suicidal and it can impact you no matter how “good” you have it. Mental illness does not discriminate.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

7. That said, some people feel suicidal as a direct result of a traumatic or distressing event.

Grief, abuse, financial problems, remorse, rejection, a breakup, and unemployment are all possible triggers for suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts.

8. And ideation can come on suddenly and unexpectedly and feel entirely out of character.

Not everyone’s suicidal thoughts are chronic or familiar — and if they hit when you’ve never had thoughts of that nature, it can be petrifying.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

9. Hearing people talk about how suicide is selfish or cowardly is incredibly hurtful — and also factually incorrect.

There’s no way to know what it’s like to feel so hopeless that death seems like the only option unless you have been there — and if you have, you know there’s nothing selfish or cowardly about it.

10. Suicide attempts don’t have to be brought on by a “tipping point” or something that “pushed them over the edge.”

Suicide attempts can seem sudden and out of nowhere from the outside, and people often assume there must be a tangible reason, but a lot of the time it’s more complicated than that. Attempts happen when someone feels like they no longer can cope with an overwhelming situation or feelings.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

11. Getting therapy or medication isn’t a magic fix — so encouragements to “get help” can be a little demoralizing.

Yes, help is absolutely necessary and can save lives. But taking the first step to reach out isn’t the only difficult part of the process. Healing from or learning to manage suicidal thoughts takes a lot of time and work, so don’t assume that because someone is suicidal it’s because they haven’t sought help.

12. On that note, there are different and sometimes better ways to help someone than sharing suicide lifelines.

People share suicide lifelines with the best of intentions — but if you think someone is struggling, reach out. Ask them how you can be supportive. Tell them you care about them. Real contact and compassion can go a lot further than seeing hotline numbers tossed into the void.

13. Telling people that they have ~so much to live for~ isn’t helpful.

It just reads as, “You’re wrong to feel this way.” Same with asking them to imagine how hurt their loved ones will be. All that kind of talk does is add more pressure, guilt, and hopelessness.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

14. Talking about suicide doesn’t increase the risk or “give people ideas.”

There’s this misconception that talking about suicide will lead to suicide, but suicidal ideation is bred in isolation. Those conversations aren’t easy — but it’s so important to be able to have an open dialogue and ask the hard questions.

15. In general, dealing with suicidal ideation is a lot more common than you might think it is.

Obviously, it’s comforting to think of suicidal ideation as a distant, theoretical thing that happens to other people and not anyone you know. But the more you realize that people around you — people close to you, even — could be dealing with this without you knowing, the more we can normalize talking about it. And the more we can talk about it, the closer we are to making sure no one has to suffer alone.

If you are thinking about suicide or just need to talk to someone, you can speak to someone by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and or by texting HOME to 741741, the Crisis Text Line. And here are suicide helplines outside the US.

Teens who were severely bullied as children at higher risk of suicidal thoughts, mental health issue