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.

Sources include:

GreenMedInfo.com

Independent.co.uk

DailyMail.co.uk

ScienceDaily.com

Teens Are Being Bullied ‘Constantly’ on Instagram


A woman stares at her phone in bed.

No app is more integral to teens’ social lives than Instagram. While Millennials relied on Facebook to navigate high school and college, connect with friends, and express themselves online, Gen Z’s networks exist almost entirely on Instagram. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of teens use the platform, which now has more than 1 billion monthly users. Instagram allows teens to chat with people they know, meet new people, stay in touch with friends from camp or sports, and bond by sharing photos or having discussions.

But when those friendships go south, the app can become a portal of pain. According to a recent Pew survey, 59 percent of teens have been bullied online, and according to a 2017 survey conducted by Ditch the Label, a nonprofit anti-bullying group, more than one in five 12-to-20-year-olds experience bullying specifically on Instagram. “Instagram is a good place sometimes,” said Riley, a 14-year-old who, like most kids in this story, asked to be referred to by her first name only, “but there’s a lot of drama, bullying, and gossip to go along with it.”

Teenagers have always been cruel to one another. But Instagram provides a uniquely powerful set of tools to do so. The velocity and size of the distribution mechanism allow rude comments or harassing images to go viral within hours. Like Twitter, Instagram makes it easy to set up new, anonymous profiles, which can be used specifically for trolling. Most importantly, many interactions on the app are hidden from the watchful eyes of parents and teachers, many of whom don’t understand the platform’s intricacies.

“There is no place for bullying on Instagram, and we are committed to fostering a kind and supportive community. Any form of online abuse on Instagram runs completely counter to the culture we’re invested in —a platform where everyone should feel safe and comfortable sharing their lives through photos and videos,” an Instagram spokesperson told The Atlantic in September. This week, the company also announced a set of new features aimed at combatting bullying, including comment filters on live videos, machine-learning technology to detect bullying in photos, and a “kindness camera effect to spread positivity” endorsed by the former Dance Moms star Maddie Ziegler.

Still, Instagram is many teens’ entire social infrastructure; at its most destructive, bullying someone on there is the digital equivalent of taping mean flyers all over someone’s school, and her home, and her friends’ homes.

After a falling-out with someone formerly in her friend group last year, Yael, a 15-year-old who asked to be referred to by a pseudonym, said the girl turned to Instagram to bully her day and night. “She unfollowed me, blocked me, unblocked me, then messaged me days on end, paragraphs,” Yael said. “She posted about me constantly on her account, mentioned me in her Story, and messaged me over and over again for weeks.”

Yael felt anxious even just having her phone in her pocket, because it reminded her of the harassment. “Every time I logged on to my account, I didn’t want to be there,” she said. “I knew when I opened the app, she would be there. I was having a lot of anxiety over it, a lot of stress.”

But still, she hesitated to quit the app entirely. Her friends on Instagram serve as a source of support. Also, quitting wouldn’t stop her tormentor from talking about her, and she’d rather know what the girl was saying. “You know someone’s talking about you, they’re posting about you, they’re messaging about you, they’re harassing you constantly,” she said. “You know every time you open the app they’re going to be there.”

Because bullying on your main feed is seen by many as aggressive and uncool, many teens create hate pages: separate Instagram accounts, purpose-built and solely dedicated to trashing one person, created by teens alone or in a group. They’ll post bad photos of their target, expose her secrets, post screenshots of texts from people saying mean things about her, and any other terrible stuff they can find.

“I’ve had at least 10 hate pages made about me,” said Annie, a 15-year-old who asked to be referred to by a pseudonym. “I know some were made in a row by the same person, but some were from different people. They say really nasty things about you, the most outrageous as possible.”

Sometimes teens, many of whom run several Instagram accounts, will take an old page with a high amount of followers and transform it into a hate page to turn it against someone they don’t like. “One girl took a former meme page that was over 15,000 followers, took screencaps from my Story, and Photoshopped my nose bigger and posted it, tagging me being like, ‘Hey guys, this is my new account,’” Annie said. “I had to send a formal cease and desist. I went to one of those lawyer websites and just filled it out. Then she did the same thing to my friend.”

The scariest thing about being attacked by a hate page, teens say, is that you don’t know who is doing the attacking. “In real-life bullying, you know what’s doing it,” said Skye, a 14-year-old. “Hate pages could be anyone. It could be someone you know, someone you don’t know—you don’t know what you know, and it’s scary because it’s really out of control at that point. Teachers tell you with bullying [to] just say ‘Stop,’ but in this case you can’t, and you don’t even know who to tell stop to.”

Aside from hate pages, teens say most bullying takes place over direct message, Instagram Stories, or in the comments section of friends’ photos. “Instagram won’t delete a person’s account unless it’s clear bullying on their main feed,” said Hadley, a 14-year-old, “and, like, no one is going to do that. It’s over DM and in comment sections.”

Mary, a 13-year-old who asked to be referred to by a pseudonym, said that relentless bullying on Instagram by a former friend gave her her first-ever panic attack. It started, Mary said, after she made the cheer team and her former friend did not. “She would DM me, or when I was with my friends, if they posted me on their Story, she would [respond] and say mean stuff about me since she knew I would see it since I’m with them,” Mary said. “She would never do it on her own Story; she’d make it seem like she wasn’t doing anything.”

“There was literally a group chat on Instagram named Everyone in the Class but Mary,” she added. “All they did on there was talk bad about me.”

On Instagram, it’s easy to see what people are up to and whom they’re hanging out with. For teenagers who are acutely aware of social status, even a seemingly innocent group photo can set a bully off. Teens say that tagging the wrong friend in a photo can unleash a bully’s wrath. Every location tag, comment, Story post, and even whom you follow or unfollow on your finsta (a secondary Instagram account where teens post more personal stuff) is scrutinized.

“Lots of bullying stems from jealousy, and Instagram is the ultimate jealousy platform,” Hadley said. “People are constantly posting pics of their cars, their bodies. Anything good in your life or at school goes on Insta, and that makes people jealous.”

Many high schools have anonymously run “confessions”-style Instagram accounts where users submit gossip about other students at school. For instance, an account like Greenville High School Confessions will pop up with a bio asking followers to “send the tea,” i.e., gossip. Students will follow the locked account and submit texts of people saying bad things about one another or gossip they’ve heard about people at school. The account admin or admins will select the juiciest rumors and blast them out on Stories or on the main feed, sometimes even tagging the student’s handle.

When someone who runs a school’s confessions account doesn’t like you, it can feel like the whole school has turned against you. “There was a page made called DTS.gossip, the initials of our school,” Riley said. “The account was made to post rumors and crap about people in my school, but a lot of them were about me.”

Rory, a 15-year-old, said that confessions accounts had gotten so out of control at her high school that administrators had banned taking photos of other students on campus. “People at my school would … expose drama or make up stuff, Photoshop people’s faces, bully them basically. It’s all anonymous.”

But Rory said that the no-picture rule hasn’t really curbed bullying. Not long ago, someone posted an entire diss track saying awful things about a 15-year-old girl to SoundCloud, which students promptly set as the link in their Instagram bio.

“I think a lot of kids get really invested in drama,” Riley said, “with beauty gurus, YouTube, stuff like that. When it happens at school, they’re very interested in it. It’s fun. Which is horrible.”

In Rory’s case, Instagram has been both the catalyst and the medium for bullying. When she was 13, she was featured on the official Instagram account of Brandy Melville, a popular teen clothing brand.

“Tons of people from my school saw it immediately and started to make memes of me, calling me anorexic,” she said. “Then there were others suggesting I wasn’t thin enough. On their finstas, people were posting these mean things, people I thought I was friends with. I would block their finstas and they would tag my main account.”

But even in the midst of the worst bullying, teens say they’re wary of logging off. Rory is still active on the platform, though she only uses one account.

“Everyone has friends from Instagram,” said Liv, a 13-year-old. “Everyone makes friends that way. It’s inevitable. Everyone does it.” Some teens did say they’d deactivate or take a break if their parents forced them to, but quitting forever “wasn’t an option.”

“You can message someone on insta ‘Hey, you’re a bitch’ so easily,” Liv said. “People need to think more about what they say before they say it, even if it’s a DM you forget about and log off. The person you sent that message to, it can impact them. You can really screw someone’s life up.”

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


https://speciality.medicaldialogues.in/teens-who-were-severely-bullied-as-children-at-higher-risk-of-suicidal-thoughts-mental-health-issue/

Over-the-Counter Birth Control Safe for Teens, Research Finds.


Days could be coming when birth control is harder to get, with no-copay contraception potentially dropping off the map. Even though costs could increase, researchers say there’s no reason oral contraception should remain restricted by prescriptions. While some have been recommending over-the-counter birth control pills for years, some have worried about safety. But new research shows birth control pills are very safe and effective — especially for teens.

NPR reports that a review of birth control pill research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health makes the most comprehensive case yet for allowing over-the-counter birth control for teens. In fact, the research found birth control pills might be safer for young people, because your risk for negative side effects such as blood clots is greater if you’re older.

“There is a growing body of evidence that the safety risks are low and benefits are large,” Krishna Upadhya, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the lead author of the review, told NPR.

And when you’re young, Upadhya added, research shows you are less likely to experience some of the negative side effects of the Pill. While pills containing estrogen and progestin increase risk of a certain type of blood clot, Krishna said teens are less likely to develop that side effect and others, meaning the pill is “potentially safer the younger you are.”

 Research shows that good things happen when we reduce barriers to birth control. According to a 2016 research report from Urban Institute, about 63 percent of women reported that birth control reduces stress in their lives, about 54 percent said it had provided them health benefits, about 49 percent said it had helped them get their education, and about 49 percent reported more stable romantic relationships. On top of that, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists backs access to over-the-counter birth control, as do many doctors.

With this new research, Upadhya told NPR, everyone, regardless of age, should be able to get the Pill from her local pharmacy, no prescription needed.

“These pills are safe and effective and we should reduce barriers to using them,” she said. “And teens should benefit just as adult women do.”

Source:http://www.teenvogue.com

Stores Defy Experts to Recommend Sports Supplements to Teens Study Says


It’s generally agreed by health experts that teens shouldn’t be using certain supplements, particularly some of those used to boost athletic abilities. Yet, according to CNN, more than two-thirds of vitamin stores still recommended a popular sports supplement — creatine — even when they were told the supplement was for a teen. It’s estimated that 30 percent of high school athletes are using this supplement, CNN said.

Creatine is one of 8 nutrients you can’t get from foods, and that’s why some people choose to take a supplement for it. Creatine is an amino acid found in animal foods that is important for muscle energy, proper function of your central nervous system, and brain health. But, it’s noteworthy that creatine can also be produced by the liver, so unless you’re a vegetarian who isn’t getting animal foods, you don’t really need a supplement for it.

Three important factors of fitness nutrition are a sufficient protein/high-fat/low-carb diet — which in and of itself will give you a source of creatine; getting enough essential amino acids, the most notable of which is leucine; and timing of meals. And while many athletes do this, carb-loading is not the most beneficial way to lose fat, gain muscle or boost your performance.

The bottom line is, in sports nutrition, the food you eat has an immense impact not only on your general health, but on the benefits you will ultimately reap from your workouts. This means making sure you have a proper balance of proteins, leucine and other essential amino acids that play a part in energy and sports nutrition ― and timing meals correctly. You also need to ditch energy drinks, sports drinks, most energy bars and even “healthy” drinks like vitamin water.

One Question Could Help Spot Drinking Problems in Teens


One simple question may reveal a lot about a teen’s risk of developing an alcohol problem, a new study finds.

The study focused on teen alcohol screening, or questions that doctors can ask to flag those who may be at risk for problem drinking. Results showed that one question — how many days they drank in the past year  — was particularly good at spotting those at risk for a drinking problem, which researchers call alcohol use disorder.

women, alcohol, party, drinking

Among teens who said they had one drink on at least three days, 44 percent were later found to have alcohol use disorder on a diagnostic test. Among the teens who answered no to the 3-days-per-year drinking question, 99 percent did not have alcohol use disorder, the researchers said.

he researchers took the screening a step further. They found that a screening test that included just this question, which was then followed by a detailed diagnostic test for teens who answered yes, could accurately identify 91 percent of teens with alcohol use disorder, the study found. Alcohol use disorder is drinking that is causing people harm or distress, including problems at school and with relationships.

Because doctors often have only a short time to spend with patients, researchers have tried to come up with ways to assess a patient’s risk for alcohol disorder with just a few questions. A two-question screening test based on people’s age already exists for teens. But the new study suggests that just one question about a teen’s frequency of alcohol use “would be a simple, brief, and cost-effective clinical assessment procedure,” said the researchers, from the University of Pittsburgh.

The study was based on surveys of nearly 1,200 teens ages 12 to 17 in rural Pennsylvania. Participants answered not only screening questions, but also questions to diagnose alcohol use disorder based on the latest definition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5).

About 10 percent of participants in the study over age 14 met the criteria for having alcohol use disorder, the researchers found.

BRAIN IMAGING SHOWS BRAIN DIFFERENCES IN RISK-TAKING TEENS.


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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.