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The Use of Antidepressants on Children We must limit the number of young children who are administered antidepressants as we do not have sufficient if any data regarding the effects of these drugs on the developing brain Greater involvement from parents teachers ministers and friends as well as counseling and psychotherapy must all be used extensively before turning to the quick fix of antidepressants In the last ten years the psychiatric field has been flooded with a new group of antidepressants known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs Michele Laraia defines an SSRI as a group of compounds that block the reuptake of serotonin by the pre synaptic neuron 6 By adjusting the level of serotonin the mood-altering chemical which our body naturally creates that reaches the brain we can control the stability of a persons mood Tania Unsworth writes that almost 600000 children and adolescents in the US were prescribed SSRI antidepressants in 1996 1 A more alarming statistic reported by Joseph Coyle is that there has been a 10-fold increase in the prescription of SSRIs in the US for children under 5 years old between 1993 and 1997 1 Parents teachers and psychiatrists across the country seem a little too anxious to jump on the antidepressant bandwagon Apparently many people are willing to turn first to the quick fix of drugs rather than the more time consuming approach of counseling and psychotherapy although these have proven to be much more effective in the long run McDougle 1 The most common reason for the prescription of an antidepressant is depression Until about ten years ago depression was thought to be nonexistent in children Depression is now found using the same criteria used for adults to be unquestionably diagnosable in children Fishbein 1 Joyce Price notes that the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry puts the number of significantly depressed children and adolescents at 34 million 1 The consequences of depression for children
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