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Archives for Suicide

Atypical Antipsychotics

Too Early To Link Sandy Hook Shooting With Psych Meds

Tragedies like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary aren't just agonizing and heart-wrenching for millions of people - they're frustrating.

We keep asking ourselves "how?" and "why?" And, with authorities still trying to piece together evidence, the public has to make do with limited - and often incorrect - information.

First came reports that the shooter, Adam Lanza, might have Asperger's. To my knowledge, no authoritative source...
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ADHD drugs

Think Kids Are “Overmedicated”? First Consider This.

I've argued before that declaring American kids and teens to be "overmedicated" is something of a cop-out.

How can people say what constitutes overmedication when they can't - or won't - specify what would constitute an acceptable number or percentage of kids taking psychiatric meds?

Still, I do care about the numbers, because they can give us clues as to which kids and how many are getting appropriate treatment for emotional and behavioral problems.

A...
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Antidepressants

Waiting Until You’re “Old Enough” for Antidepressants

What's it like to suffer from severe depression for as long as you can remember - and to be too scared to ask for help until age 18?

Today I’m featuring the story of Allie, a 21-year-old college senior in Wisconsin who was ultimately diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Allie kept her unhappiness a secret and didn't begin taking medication when she was old enough to ask for it without her parents finding out.

Allie's...
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Antidepressants

How Psych Drug Studies Shortchange Kids

For years, researchers and health policy experts have been charging that psychiatric medications aren't adequately tested in children - and a new study gives some powerful ammunition to that critique.

The study, from Pediatrics, looked at clinical drug trials between 2006 and 2011, involving five conditions that cause the greatest "disease burden" for children, as measured by a rating that counts the total years of healthy life lost to disability.

In high-income countries like...
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Adherence

If I Don’t Take My Meds, I’m A “Completely Different Person, A Scary Person” – A Reader’s Experience

A little while back, I asked readers to share their experiences with medication. CJ, who first took medication at age 12 and is now 21, was kind enough to write in. At 12, CJ had self-harmed and was suicidal, which was the initial impetus for drug treatment.

Some medications have helped with those tendencies, some only exacerbated them - a controversial topic I've addressed in previous posts.

Eight years later, mood swings and sleep...
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Adherence

Medication in The Marriage Plot

I stayed up late the last few nights reading Jeffrey Eugenides' The Marriage Plot, engrossed in large part by the subplot involving Leonard Bankhead, who suffers from bipolar disorder and what might be called a typically complicated relationship with both his manic phases and his medication.

The book is set in the early 1980s, which gives Leonard few viable options for pharmaceutical treatment. Now doctors often prescribe anticonvulsants such as Tegretol and Depakote, and atypical...
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Adherence

Refusing Medication: “I Thought I Deserved This Abyss”

This reader's story about her experience with medication seems especially timely, given the recent analysis of studies analyzing suicidal ideation and antidepressants. She says she experienced such suicidal thoughts in the initial weeks of treatment, but that the thoughts passed.

For patients, especially young people, who do experience this kind of suicidal ideation after beginning an antidepressant, it is usually early in the course of treatment. The reader, who didn't want to use...
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Antidepressants

Kids, Antidepressants & Suicide: Could The Stats Cancel Each Other Out?

A new, important study published in the prestigious Archives of General Psychiatry found that antidepressants decrease the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in adults and have no effect on the risk in children.
This is big news, since in 2004 the FDA slapped a black box warning on antidepressants, cautioning that they could cause suicidal tendencies in people under 18. In 2007, the agency extended that warning to young adults...
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Antidepressants

30 Years Later, Still Unsure What To Think: A Reader’s Experience With Antidepressants

This reader's story presents an interesting perspective, because he took antidepressants 30 years ago, before many of the current psychotropics were on the market, before psychiatric drugs were as commonly prescribed as they are now and, especially, before they were prescribed as often to children and teens.

It's also interesting because he was hospitalized fairly soon after his symptoms showed up. He's agreed to...
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