Some feel the only way of helping children with depression is the prescribing of barely tested and dangerous drugs, many of which are not recommended for children in the first place. These drugs may have disastrous results, as has been proven again and again.
It seems remarkable that SSRIs, which are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants, are still given to children. As early as 1990, suicidal thoughts were reported in patients taking these drugs. This observation was made shortly after SSRIs were introduced to the public.
At that time, an FDA committee rejected this association, and most mental health workers (not surprisingly) agreed. But the evidence of suicidal thought in these victims continued to mount, and finally could no longer be ignored.
It was proven that the use of SSRIs, when compared with a placebo, doubled the risk of suicidal thinking in both children and adults. Prescribing antidepressants to children is putting them at severe risk.
In October of 2004, after pressure from parents and Congress, the FDA finally issued their Black Box Warning. This warning is on all package inserts for antidepressants in common use, and mentions the risks of suicidal thoughts, agitation and hostility in children and adults.
Unfortunately the FDA fell short in truly helping children with depression. In other words, they did not withdraw these drugs from the market.
What is a parent of a depressed child to do? Fortunately, there are choices beyond the prescribing of dangerous mind-altering pharmaceutical drugs.
Fish oil, high in omega-3 fatty acids has been proven to effectively treat depression. Psychiatrist David Mischoulon of Massachusetts General Hospital has had success in treating patients with omega-3 fatty acids, and commented “We’ve been very impressed by the response rates we’ve observed. We believe there is definitely something to these treatments.”
When scientists first observed that countries with high fish consumption had low rates of depression, their interest was piqued. It was even discovered that women who ate very little fish during pregnancy had double the instance of postpartum depression.
These fatty acids cannot be manufactured by the body, and are found primarily in seafood.
Dr. Malcolm Peet of Sheffield University in England gave omega-3 fatty acids to 70 of his depressed patients. These people all complained they had not been helped by SSRIs.
In 12 weeks, almost 70 per cent of the patients showed marked improvement.
One wonders why these results are not more broadly published, and why, with the tremendously good results of treatment with fish oil now known, that dangerous SSRIs are not removed from the market place.
The answer of course relates to the huge monetary gains of pharmaceutical companies and the psychiatrists who prescribe their dangerous drugs. Lining the pockets of greedy strangers in exchange for the well-being of our children is a damnable exchange.
It may be comforting to parents to know there are alternatives to drugs in helping children with depression. Omega-3 fish oil studies can be looked up on the internet, and parents can at last choose to treat their mentally disturbed children without the dangers inherent in SSRIs.