Antidepressants a quick fix, but not the best solution

Kelsey Spurrier, General Columnist

The zombie apocalypse is upon us.

It wasn’t caused by a superflu or any of the other outlandish scenarios proposed by movies and TV shows throughout the years. The cause is much more simple, and therefore, much more dangerous: an over-prescription of antidepressants, especially among teens.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, antidepressant use in the U.S. among people of all ages increased by nearly 400 percent from the years 2005-2008. A recent 2016 study by “The Lancet,” found that the majority of antidepressants given to kids and teens, other than Prozac, are not only ineffective but potentially dangerous. Mental health agencies, such as the National Institute of Mental Health, have found that taking depression medications can double the risk of suicidal thoughts, and can sometimes even give a person enough energy to carry out a suicide plan. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that all depression medications include a warning label about the increased risk of suicide.

What many are not sure of is whether antidepressants cure a chemical imbalance in the brain. There is very little research to support this theory.

Scientists are also exploring how placebos can improve symptoms. A placebo doesn’t contain any active medicine. According to research, 32 percent of those suffering from depression get better if they take a sugar pill they think is an antidepressant. Other drugs researchers analyzed — such as Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, and Cymbalta — showed no benefit over a placebo.

Many people I know have been prescribed depression medicine, and the outcome hasn’t been good. Often, all they want to do friend is sleep and eat, meaning we can’t spend quality time together.

My preferred solution isn’t as easy as a pill, but I think it would be more effective: If you know someone suffering from depression, be there for them. Distract them. Work on helping them be happy. It’s not easy, or a quick fix, but showing them support helps drastically.

Forms of talk therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy, have been shown to be effective against depression in young people, and regular exercise and adequate sleep can also make a difference. The vast majority of children do not need to be medicated for their depression. Let’s find a better way.