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973741 tn?1342342773

SSRI increased risk of suicide question

The warning is for age 25 and younger for an increase in suicide ideation and actual attempts. I'm wondering if that is just when the medication is started or changed so up to 6 to 8 weeks during those phases or if there is always a risk?  
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Avatar universal
Generally it's a start-up side effect, and it doesn't actually only affect the young, it just seems to affect them more often.  The things to look out for when you take any medication that affects brain neurotransmitters are personality changes, new problems you didn't have before, violent or aggressive thoughts, obsessive behavior such as gambling or shopping -- anything that changes you didn't have before you started the med.  I'm sure there are some who are affected later, though, as these meds are working on the brain, and the brain controls everything we do, so there will be changes and there will be side effects if the drug works.  It's always a cost/benefit you have to do -- is your problem so disabling you need medication in the first place or are there other ways to try to fix it first, such as therapy or lifestyle changes, and does the drug if you do take it working so well it's worth the side effects.  But if you do get suicidal ideation or violent urges, go directly to your psychiatrist and get off the drug safely -- it may require a taper off.  
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Yes, I don't think any parent jumps to medication but it can get to the point in which you feel like it is essential for your child to keep going.  Depression/anxiety can be a real beast.  I have a direct line to the ER in case anything escalates.
Avatar universal
I've tried many different antidepressants in the past. None made me worse.

Depression causes suicide. Anyone starting an antidepressant is likely depressed and therefore at risk of suicide.

Finding the antidepressant that worked for me got me out of depression and out of suicide danger.
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Well, SSRI's have a black box warning for those under age 24.  If you already think of suicide (needing to go on medication as it is because you are depressed), studies show an uptick in attempts and completion.  Putting a teenager on an SSRI is something that you do very carefully and have to watch them more closely.  At least this is what I'm told.  I was curious how long though.  It appears to be short term.  

I'm glad that you found the antidepressant that worked for you and suicide was not/is not a concern!  That's the ultimate goal!  How many different atidepressants did you have to try?
And just to say, very few depressed people attempt suicide.  Very few people on antidepressants attempt suicide.  It's something to be aware of, but it is not what most people do.  Lets not scare the heck out of all the depressed people out there and tell them it causes suicide.  Sometimes, but not usually.  
Not understanding your comment, paxiled.  The reality is that suicide is the second leading cause of death for this age group.  The percentage of those depressed that attempt or complete may not be the majority by any means but my question is related to depression and suicide.  Parents and patients need to be aware that when they start an antidepressant, specifically an SSRI, that they may get worse before they get better. If they had suicidal thoughts, they can get worse.  Seeing this first hand currently.   But del677 is absolutely correct that it is ultimately the depression that would lead to a suicide attempt.  It is not scaring all depressed people to say that this reality exists with this medical condition.  Denying that could be dangerous and asking questions of our kids such as if they have considered harming themselves, ending their life and if they know how they would do it could save their lives. And not just kids but all of our loved ones who show symptoms of depression.  I don't think anyone thinks being depressed which is a common condition means everyone who is depressed is suicidal but that is not what this thread is about.  
We often don't understand one another, Mom, so, par for the course.  I get very concerned for the people who might be looking at this.  When someone says something that is terrifying to look at, I try to moderate it.  I do this a lot, because it doesn't help anyone to think the fact they have a disorder means they will become suicidal.  You're also incorrect about medication causing suicidal thoughts because of the underlying depression.  Not true in any manner or form.  People who are anxious and not depressed have this happen.  People trying to quit smoking and take drugs that affect brain neurotransmitters have this happen.  It's the drug messing with brain neurotransmitters that does it.  So yes, depression does correlate to increased risk of suicide.  So does chronic pain and old age and chronic disease and extreme poverty and all sorts of other things.  But it doesn't mean it will happen, it means it's more likely to happen, and is not related to the fact that medications cause this where it did not previously exist.  
I, again, am asking a relevant question when starting an SSRI.  Particularly as a parent in this position with a teenager.
I'm not saying anything about that, Mom, I'm trying to be more optimistic here because your son and anyone you're referring to because they are so young haven't written their stories yet.  I'm 68 and I'm never going to recover from what a drug did to me.  Had it happened when I was young, I might have had a much better chance of it not happening at all, but also a much better chance of finding my way back.  I don't know what your son is going through.  I know he has been diagnosed with some things, but I don't take diagnoses as seriously as some others do because of how little we truly understand about both mental illness and about young people and about the medications we take.  The reason suicide is such a high cause of death in young people is because at this point in American history young people don't die much.  There was a time when if you had seven kids you'd be lucky if two of them reached adulthood, and in historical time that wasn't very long ago, but nowadays the death rate at that age is so low in developed countries.  So it's still a very small percentage of people who commit suicide.  Any young person who does it is a tragedy, whereas at my age it's a blessing for many people, so I'm not trying to diminish the pain of it, I'm just trying to ease minds that it's not something that happens most of the time.  Taking an ssri can make the chances of thinking about it go up, but since this happens usually soon after starting it it's easier to stop taking it and stopping the brain from going haywire.  I've been hoping that your son would find his way, and in time, he might.  Maybe he needs a big change in his life for this to happen, I don't know.  Your question is very relevant, but not to the point of paralysis.  I wish we would be reading after all this time your son was growing into whoever he's meant to be, and I wish it wasn't that it's getting worse.  I just don't want you or him or anyone to think that depression is a death sentence, because for the vast majority of people who get it it's not, and the same is true for the vast majority of people who take meds, although long-term use will raise issues down the line one way or the other.  Hoping for the best.  Peace.
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