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Depression Treatment Reduces Suicide Attempts

There was a recent study conducted by Dr. Greg Simon, a psychiatrist and researcher at Group Health, a Seattle-based nonprofit health care system --- which I found really interesting. He found that drug treatment of either kind: antidepressants or talk therapy (psychotherapy), reduced the number of suicide attempts in depressed patients.

So do you remember that controversial 2004 recommendation on antidepressant labeling from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)? In case you don't remember and need a refresher -- the FDA asked for a strong "black box" warning on the labeling of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): Celexa, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft are some brand names.

The FDA went a little "rambo" with that request based on a study which Dr. Simon says was based on a placebo-controlled trials and did not focus on suicide attempts. *

Dr. Simon's new study did focus on the number of suicide attempts and found that the pattern of suicide attempts was the same with groups who took antidepressants or started psychotherapy. Highest the month starting treatment. Next highest the month after starting. And then declining after that.

Now you remember being a raging teenager right? Well, the rate of suicide attempts was higher with adolescents and young adults (which makes sense), but their rates of suicide attempts also declined right along the same pattern as the other age groups when they sought treatment.

Overall, Dr. Simon saw a reduction in suicide attempts in people who were prescribed antidepressants by a psychiatrist, a general practitioner, and those who used only psychotherapy.

His study proves quite effectively that depression treatment of whichever kind is much more effective than some previously thought and that not seeking treatment for depression should NEVER be an option.

His study also suggests that the FDA was a little over-zealous with their black-box labeling -- because while there is an inherent risk of taking any pharmaceutical - the benefits clearly outweigh the risks.

The bottom line? Seeking treatment for depression should not be optional. You have a greater chance of beating it when you seek the treatment model of your choice - rather than ignoring it.


*Source: HealthDay News



Lisa Angelettie, "GirlShrink" is an online advice authority. Her site GirlShrink.com is the #1 "Advice & Counseling" site on the web and contributing author of "101 Great Ways To Improve Your Life". Instantly get a FREE Bonus when you sign up for her free Better Choices Ezine. Please visit us for more discussion on this topic in the depression forum to talk about it further. Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for topics in the news, new articles, website & book reviews, and other useful mental health resources. Subscribe below.

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