In Daniel DeNoon’s article entitled Child Suicide: No Antidepressant-Link? in CBS News Online, a 2007 study on the link between antidepressant usage and suicide attempts of children was put on focus. DeNoon (2006) said that the study, conducted by researcher Robert D. Gibbons, compared the number of antidepressant drugs distributed in every county in the United States with the number of child suicides in that area. The result was there were fewer suicides among children as the rate of antidepressant drugs distribution increased (DeNoon, 2006).
Although the result was not enough proof on the null relationship of antidepressant usage and children suicides, Gibbons (2006) said that it was a reassurance because other recent studies still fail to link the relationship between suicide attempts and antidepressant use. Increased distribution of antidepressant drugs and decreased number of suicides imply that selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SRRIs) are actually treating depression and decreasing the number of suicides in children. Gibbons also said the children that were studied in the 2003 research of the same issue by Tarek A. Hammad did not actually commit suicide.
With the comparison of two factors— rate of antidepressant drugs distribution and suicide attempts— Gibbons presented that antidepressants are indeed helping patients and not the other way around. But the method is not enough to prove that there is indeed no link between SRRI usage and suicides.
It doesn’t look at whether children who did or didn’t kill themselves actually took antidepressants, DeNoon said. Although the implication of exposure on SRRIs contributes on the decrease of suicides in an area, the connection is still a blur because a lot of factors were not taken into account when the study was conducted.
I have learned it is possible to still have a link between SRRI usage and suicide attempts on children. Gibbons’ study was merely a reassurance that SRRIs are not totally dangerous and still important for the treatment of depressed patients. The lack of its proof on the relationship between the two factors can not just be taken for granted. Hammad’s study on the apparent link between the intake of antidepressant drugs and possible suicide incidents in children showed that there was a 2% risk in taking SRRIs.
Accoriding to an article in Consumeraffairs.com, the study included almost 5,000 pediatric patients at least taking one of nine antidepressant medications. It was found that children who were taking antidepressant drugs most likely had suicidal ideas and behaviours than those who did not.
We should also note that Gibbons made a good point that SRRIs still help patients who need medication and should not be totally ignored. The exposure of children to antidepressants makes them aware that there is still treatment on such conditions. It also provides parents easy access to drugs that may help their children who are experiencing depression. Also, the study’s result implies that antidepressants are still effective in treating patients of depression.
DeNoon, D. (2006). Child suicide: no antidepressant-link. CBS News. Retrieved March 28, 2009, from http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/11/01/health/webmd/ main2143750.shtml
n.d. (2006). Study suggests antidepressant- suicide link. Consumeraffairs.com. Retrieved March 28, 2009, from http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/03/ fda_suicide.html