Antidepressants can double the risk of suicide. That is a belief that I have held for many years without evidence until today. A while back I wrote about Robin Williams death. I did not believe the immediate claims in the media that Robin Williams death cause was suicide. It seemed more prudent to know if he had been taking antidepressants or not.
I thought that drugs could have played the key role in Robin Williams death and not suicide. I based this on personal experience with antidepressants as I detailed in the article Robin Williams Death was NOT Suicide. Finally, a new study comes out that corroborates this idea, that drugs can be the source of suicidal thinking. Read on for the shocking and sobering details:
Antidepressants: Drugs make people ‘TWICE as likely to think about suicide’ study claims
TAKING antidepressants could double the risk of having feelings which could lead to suicide – a controversial new study has suggested.
The researchers said believing drugs aren't dangerous for adults is a misconception. A review of trials of drugs taken by healthy adults with no signs of a mental health disorder has found the drugs used to treat the illness doubled the harms related to suicide and violence. Experts working on the study said the analysis was undertaken because the harms of antidepressants, including the risk of suicide, are often explained away as if they are disease symptoms or only a problem in children.Professor Peter Gøtzsche, of the Nordic Cochrane Centre and lead author of the study, said: “While it is now generally accepted that antidepressants increase the risk of suicide and violence in children and adolescents, most people believe that these drugs are not dangerous for adults.“This is a potentially lethal misconception.” The review has been met with criticism of other experts. He added: “The reporting of harms in drug trials is generally poor. Our review established that the trials did not report much about their methodology and that the reporting of adverse events was generally inadequate.”
Thirteen double-blind, placebo-controlled trials were included in the review by the research team from the Nordic Cochrane Centre and the University of Copenhagen. The researchers believe that the review even ‘underestimates the harms of antidepressants' since they had access to only the published articles for 11 of the 13 trials, rather than being able to analyse the full data held by the drug companies.
Experts said medications that do good ‘can also do harm'. Professor Gøtzsche added: “It is well documented that drug companies under-report seriously the harms of antidepressants related to suicide and violence, either by simply omitting them from reports, by calling them something else or by committing scientific misconduct.”
However, Professor Sir Simon Wessely, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Professor of Psychological Medicine, King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, said the study ‘changes nothing’.
“This paper shows that antidepressants have side effects such as odd dreams, nervousness and shaking. This is very familiar to most, if not all, clinicians. “But importantly, no data presented in the paper supports extrapolating from these side-effects to self-harm and violence.” “The strongest conclusion one can draw from this data is to say that some symptoms such as agitation occur in depression itself and in response to antidepressants, and that sometimes these symptoms are also experienced by people who go on to commit acts of violence or self-harm.“Overall, medications used in any branch of medicine that do good can also do harm. The same applies in psychiatry. “Current evidence from large scale studies continues to show that for antidepressants the benefits outweigh the risks. If the evidence changes then so will our advice, but this study changes nothing.”Read more here how the biggest ever study shows that drugs can raise the risk of suicide.
If you or someone that you know is thinking about taking antidepressants, be aware of the dangers. In the past, there was no evidence that drugs could lead to suicidal ideation. Most of the previous studies showed risks for children, not adults. However, the Nordic Cochrane Centre study demonstrates that antidepressants can double your risk for suicidal thinking.
There are alternative treatments for dealing with depression that do not come in a pill. Antidepressants are not the only solution for depression, divorce, estrangement, job loss or other traumas.
Before taking on antidepressants to soothe your mind, try real food, exercise and positive thinking. You can rebuild your body, mind and life, in a way that antidepressants can never accomplish. Especially for those with treatment-resistant depression.
If you have taken on depression without using antidepressants, please share your story. If you are looking for a guide to fighting depression without antidepressants, please check out my self-help book for depression: