17 thoughts on “Suicide and Meds: What Parents Accept & Kids Confess

  • December 10, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    I appreciate this nuanced perspective. I am skeptical of any book or film (like this one seems to be) that comes to a conclusion at the outset and then presents only the evidence that supports its view.

  • December 10, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    To be honest, though I wasn’t a child but a young adult, I felt suicidal and totally unlike myself on even a small dose of zoloft. I don’t react to antidepressants well, I don’t have bipolar disorder, but I am extremely sensitive to medication. This is a complex issue and there certainly is some truth in what you say- but it isn’t a black or white issue. I was skeptical before about the black box warning but after my zoloft experience, I do think these medications can contribute to a suicide.

  • December 10, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    I feel bad for this. Kids are always keeping how they really feel to themselves. It’s such a heart breaking issue.

  • December 10, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    I have battled suicidal thinking now for twenty years. I was 9 when I learned what suicide was exactly and 10 when I made my first serious attempt. I vomited the overdose of Scope mouthwash (the only alcohol I could get my hands on) and a bottle of ibprofen in the school hallway. No one said anything. The pills still had a circular shape to them and three teachers were there. I had many unwilling participants in my life, adults who saw what was happening but couldn’t believe it or know what to do. I didn’t get help for my depression for another 3 years. Medication did not make it better because of varying factors but also I was not really instructed that there were other real practical ways to help the medication work for my benefit. No one discussed with me that I had to also work on myself, exercise, eat healthy, etc in order to get better. Was this because it was around the beginning of the Prozac boom and no one really had any answers? I like to think so. It has taken this long for me to understand that yes, you can all the medication in the world but if you aren’t going to put any effort into your health then the medication is just a formality. I feel for those parents that lose their children and now as a person who works in the mental health field some of my future research goals are to look at the hormonal effects on medication in adolescents. I don’t believe that an adult dose should be the same across the board.

  • December 11, 2011 at 8:11 am

    I think it’s hard to generalize about meds and whether they exascerbate, or have the tendency to exascerbate, suicidal thinking. I think it’s on a case-by-case basis, and parents and their kids should be informed of the risks, which they generally are.

  • December 11, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    S and CM, thanks for sharing your experiences. S, I don’t doubt a priori that an antidepressant – or, in theory, any medication – might make someone feel suicidal. I am saying that this film doesn’t make the argument convincingly in the case of most of the kids it features.

  • December 11, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Good Evening, I feel compelled to put my two cents in, My daughter, at the age of 15 attempted to commit suicide while on the antidepressant Paxil, after being misdiagnosed with depression when she actually had Lyme Disease. I spear headed the campaign in Washington DC in 2001 to explore the side effects of antidepressants in children. I attended and spoke before FDA and Congress. Studies show that antidepressants increase the risk of suicide!! I encourage every parent to do their own research, and make an informed decision on behalf of their child and take what bloggers have to say with a grain of salt. Again, there are Black Box Warnings for a reason, these drugs and others increase the risk of suicide, if they didn’t, and they were safe and effective, FDA would not have labeled them otherwise..

  • December 13, 2011 at 12:00 am

    While I know that some people have had adverse side effects while taking anti-depressants, I just have to say they have truly changed my life. I have been taking Paxil since I was 12 and it has really increased my quality of life. I have never experienced any suicidal thoughts or other sever side effects. I don’t know where I would be without it. Unfortunately, parents have to trust that their children will be truthful about how they’re feeling. Kids won’t always tell you what they are thinking. Putting children on medication requires a lot of vigilance.

  • December 13, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    How do I follow this blog?

  • December 13, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Isn’t it true that many of the kids who experience suicidal ideation as a result of taking antidepressants are misdiagnosed bipolar kids? Isn’t the fact that you are experiencing racing thoughts and suicidal ideation an indicator that you should perhaps be on mood stabilizers instead of anti-depressants? I don’t see why everyone blames the drug rather than the diagnosis.

    • December 13, 2011 at 3:28 pm

      Claudia, you raise a very interesting point. It’s true that antidepressants can spin people with bipolar disorder into mania or even into an agitated mixed state that could be uncomfortable enough to prompt suicide. That’s why doctors generally recommend starting mood stabilizers first before adding antidepressants if they know someone is bipolar. The problem arises, as you point out, when young people are misdiagnosed, or when the depression appears before mania. People with BD also have elevated rates of suicide, of course, even higher than those with major depression. That said, I think doctors and parents should always monitor kids very closely when beginning an antidepressant. It’s not inconceivable that meds could drive someone to suicide, but I think people are awfully quick to lay blame on the drugs, as you say.

  • December 14, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    I’m sure that in some cases antidepressants may cause suicide in kids. I’m sure that in some cases antidepressants may prevent suicide in kids. I’m also sure that in many cases antidepressants can drastically improve the lives of kids.

    The FDA’s antidepressant Black Box warning was prompted by what is considered “sufficient evidence” that some people, most often a young person, committed suicide while taking an antidepressant. The FDA did not need multiple scientific studies showing the antidepressant probably caused the suicide, only sufficient credible reports that some young people committed suicide while taking the antidepressant. As cold as this may sound, just because one event follows another does not prove the first event caused the second event.

    I’m not asserting that antidepressants cannot increase the risk of suicide in young persons; I think there’s probably insufficient evidence on either side. My heart goes out to all parents who have suffered the agony of losing a child. As much as I’d like them to have answers to the question “why” I don’t think we’re there yet.

    God bless.

  • December 15, 2011 at 12:21 am

    Kaitlin, thank you. It did help, and this blog will definitely help me with my senior project.

  • December 16, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    One thing not mentioned is that in the depths of depression, the energy to act upon suicidal thoughts is often lacking. When first beginning an antidepressant, the mood may not be elevated yet but the person begins to have more energy, which could lead the depressed person to act on whatever thoughts he or she had been harboring prior to the suicidal action. A very good reason for the warning to keep a close eye on a depressed person beginning antidepressant therapy. Teens are very good at pretending they are one thing when they are feeling another way. Also, teens might not always recognize what they feel is called depression. Even I didn’t recognize it in myself when I was in my 30’s. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 43.

    • December 17, 2011 at 12:10 pm

      Amy this is a very astute point. Thanks for bringing it up. Indeed, many suicides occur when people are already on the upswing, for this very reason. This is true whether or not antidepressants are involved. However, it’s also why most responsible GPs and mental health professionals advocate keeping a close eye on someone starting antidepressants – especially, as you say, teenagers, who are very good at hiding things from their parents.

  • December 17, 2011 at 4:06 am

    “As for accepting that the child you created and raised with such effort and sacrifice …..” If that is your attitude towards a child, the child will most definitely be sad. The only thing that prevents suicide is the child’s dreams of a future when it will be able to “make mommy proud” and make up for the sacrifice and effort and earn the love it craves (but instead of which it has to hear about effort and sacrifice – instead of joy). The child will wonder why the parents had a child in the first place if it is so much effort and sacrifice. Every one of these children will mutter to itself or out loud “But I didn’t ask to be born!” The reason why such sadness will end in suicide is if the parents go a step further and deprive the child even of its dreams by conveying, in the many different ways that parents have, their permanent disappointment in their child, and their determination to remain disappointed no matter what the kid does. Hopelessness and despair is what leads to suicide. How on earth can anyone call these children’s sadness a “mental illness.”


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