Since the turn of the 21st century there has been a dramatic increase in the rates of depression and anxiety among adolescent girls. It has been widely accepted to treat these girls with antidepressant medications. However, very little is known about how these medications affect the developing brains of adolescents in the long term and that they effect the brain differently than in adults. Parents should use medication as a last resort for their child until further research is done to determine the safety of medication on teens.
Background information needed is understanding of depression and anxiety and the data on how much it has increased in recent years. There should be some understanding of the different types of antidepressants. Signs and symptoms should be included just as a sidebar or link.
Section One: Background and the rise of depression and anxiety
Reason for section one is just to explain the basics and to identify causes for the rise of anxiety and depression
- Data from the National Institute of Mental Health with statistics
- The amount of teens who are depressed and anxious who are not receiving treatment from the Child Mind Institute and a study published in Pediatrics
- Hyperconnectivity and society today in general as causes from Time article “Why the Kids are not Alright”
Counterarguments: Could argue that kids have always been depressed and anxious and we are just learning about it now because of more studies being done now to understand it. Respond that studies have been done since the 40s to monitor mental health. Could also argue that connectivity helps people stay in touch and is good rather than bad. Respond by saying kids have no away time now for themselves.
Section Two: Early Intervention and treatment
Section two is to briefly explain signs and symptoms, the importance of early intervention and treatment
- Link to National Institute of Mental Health for signs and symptoms
- Importance of early intervention and potential long term effects of not treating teens and life lessons that they may miss. Child Mind Institute article on things learned in adolescence that are critical for success as adults
- Treatment options that include medication. General information from several sources
Counterarguments: I don’t really have a counterargument for this section as it is just general information. Could argue that adolescents will learn the life lessons in other ways I suppose, but respond by saying that the very nature of the illnesses is withdrawal and without proper treatment and early intervention they won’t get these lessons
Section Three: Medications
Short section to explain the medications approved
- Data from the Mayo Clinic
- Side effects of the medications
- FDA warning for increased risk of suicidal thoughts and actions
Counterargument: Some people say there is no increase in suicidal thoughts and actions, however there is sufficient evidence that there is an increase especially during the first few weeks of treatment
Section Four: Risks of medication and why parents should do their research before putting their daughter on medication
- Study done on Paxil and benefitting the pharmaceutical companies; article in Newsweek by Jessica Firger
- Differences in the brain structure NIMH Anxious article
- Studies being done to understand differences (Volkow and Koob study)
- Brain is still developing and it is unknown how medications affect the long term health of adolescents
Counterarguments: The benefits of medication still outweigh the risks. In severe cases maybe, but to prevent causing more harm than good in the long term it should be used as a last resort until more is understood.
Section Five: Wrap up with other forms of treatment options
- Cognitive and behavioral treatment option mayo clinic and NIMH sources
- Increase of antidepressant use in the US and worldwide and who benefits CDC and National Center for Health Statistics
- Other forms of treatment and long term care facilities
Counterarguments: Some people don’t respond to CBT and other forms of treatment. CBT is very successful and should be used as the first line of treatment