Why are more children being prescribed antidepressants?

Morgan, E. The Guardian. Published online: 11 March 2016.

Illustration showing the treatment of depression with the anti-depressant drug, Prozac. Prozac is a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) and works by increasing the level of serotonin in the synapse.

Young people with serious mental health problems face significant waiting times for talking therapies. Using drugs is a product of the NHS being suffocated by the government.

New research published this week shows that between 2005 and 2013 there was a 54% increase in the number of children and young people prescribed antidepressants in the UK. The World Health Organisation’s director of mental health, Dr Shekhar Saxena, has expressed concern about the reasons behind this rise.

Antidepressants are not licensed for prescription for under-18s, with one exception. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence clinical guidelines state that fluoxetine, a type of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, can be used in under-18s, but should not be prescribed without first referring the child for talking therapy. The two treatments should coexist and the child should be monitored carefully, particularly in the first few weeks after starting the drug, when the risk of the “major harm” Saxena speaks of is at its highest.

Read the full news story here

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