In a world where health approaches and potential drawbacks are closely scrutinized, as reported today by online EU outlet The European Times, a recent study has sparked new discussions. This study sheds light on the correlation between the use of antidepressants and an increased risk of suicidal behaviours among individuals aged 25 and younger.
This topic has sustained interest from the Church of Scientology and CCHR, an organization founded by the Church and co-founded in 1969 by eminent psychiatry professor Thomas Szasz.
Under the guidance of Tyra Lagerberg from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm (Sweden), in collaboration with the Warneford Hospital at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, their recently published study analyzed the records of over 162,000 individuals diagnosed with depression between 2006 and 2018. This research focused on the frequency of behaviours observed in the 12 weeks following the commencement of treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of antidepressants.
The study’s findings are both striking and concerning. It revealed a marked increase in the risk of suicidal behaviours among individuals undergoing antidepressant treatment. Alarming patterns emerged, with a tripling of the risk of suicidal behaviours among children aged 6 to 17. Young adults, aged 18 to 24, were not far behind, showing a doubled risk.
In light of such conclusions, frequently suggested and confirmed over the decades, CCHR has acted in active collaboration with the United Nations and WHO. This organization has produced numerous comprehensive reports for the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, highlighting and denouncing the overuse of psychotropic drugs on children in many European countries. These concerted efforts aim to strengthen human rights within the mental health system and to protect children from the harmful consequences highlighted in the latest study by Tyra Lagerberg.
Lagerberg’s findings succinctly summarize the discoveries: “Our results confirm that individuals under 25, especially those under 18, are at high risk.” These findings have raised familiar concerns, prompting regulatory bodies, including the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to place warnings on antidepressant packaging as early as 2004. In 2007, these warnings were extended to young adults up to the age of 24, underscoring the urgency of responsible prescription practices.
Controversial debates have emerged regarding the impact of these warnings. “Certain detractors, often motivated by specific interests, argue that such stringent measures could potentially lead, inadvertently, to cases of untreated depression and potentially more suicides,” stated Ivan Arjona, the Scientology representative to the UN. “However, recent research has reevaluated clinical trial data, bolstering the FDA’s cautious yet resolute stance and highlighting a clear heightened risk of suicidal thoughts and actions among young individuals using antidepressants,” concluded Mr Arjona after being informed of the latest findings.
The research results underscore that the concern surrounding the link between antidepressant use and the risk of suicide among young individuals is not limited to individuals. Significantly, the study did not identify a reduction in behavioral risk associated with antidepressant use among older patients or those with a history of suicide attempts. This intriguing discovery highlights the complexity of antidepressant treatments and raises questions about their efficacy and potential risks.
In this context, recent studies have also shed light on troubling trends among adults. A fresh analysis of safety reports submitted to the FDA revealed a nearly 2.5-fold higher rate of suicide attempts among adults taking antidepressants compared to those taking placebos. More surprisingly, a study involving emotionally stable adults with no history of depression demonstrated that antidepressant use doubled the risk of suicidal thoughts and violent behaviours.
The multifaceted nature of antidepressant use becomes more apparent when examining their role in suicide prevention, as highlighted by the report. Although these drugs may be prescribed with the intention of reducing the risk of suicide, a more in-depth review of coroner investigations revealed a troubling statistic: a significant proportion of deaths involving antidepressants were categorized as suicides, often linked to overdoses.
“In this intricate landscape, it is important to acknowledge the work undertaken by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, which has exposed the inherent dangers of such medications for those who, seeking help, have unfortunately found themselves victims of their side effects,” Arjona stated.
The juxtaposition of CCHR’s collaborative work with current concerns regarding antidepressant use underscores the complexity of mental health debates. As discussions persist and research progresses, the focus remains on the well-being of vulnerable populations, by fostering comprehensive, evidence-based solutions that genuinely assist individuals in need.
In summary, this recent study adds a layer of complexity to the ongoing debate over antidepressant use among young individuals. This issue is particularly significant when considering the heightened risk of suicidal behaviour.
These findings emphasize the importance of thorough assessment, cautious approaches, and informed decisions when addressing depression and managing mental health issues within vulnerable groups. Navigating this intricate field reinforces the necessity of a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to promote mental well-being while mitigating potential harm.
CCHR was co-founded in 1969 by members of the Church of Scientology and psychiatrist and humanist Thomas Szasz, M.D., widely recognized as one of the foremost critics of modern psychiatry, to eradicate abuses and restore human rights and dignity in the field of mental health.
To date, CCHR has contributed to the adoption of 228 laws against psychiatric abuses and human rights violations worldwide.