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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 6:02 am 
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Very sad to hear that The use of antidepressants in children is on the rise. Haven't got time to rant now but am interested to hear what others think and will rant later. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-357566 ... 665572#_=_


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:16 am 
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The state of mental health services in this country is parlous; and it is an indictment on our civilised society that so many young people are in such distress. As a nation, our sad inability to reflect on and address the reasons for this are tragic and show that 'progress' isn't always all it is cracked up to be. Personally I think a simpler and more co-operative life would be preferable to all the high-tech, high-speed, me-centred instant gratification we have now, but I am spitting in the wind. And even if I weren't, I don't get to decide.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:00 am 
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I think that until recently, mental illness in children was not recognised, diagnosed or treated, with often tragic results.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:10 am 
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I first went to my GP with symptoms of mental illness aged 11. I was told it was adolescence and offered no help or support. By the time I was 17 I was severely depressed. The previous GP had retired, so I tried again with the new one. This time I was prescribed a multivitamin and sent away with no help, support or follow-up.

Thankfully the GP at my university was a better, but by that time, many years of untreated depression had taken their toll, and I ended up being admitted to hospital.

I am very grateful that my child was listened to and taken seriously when he started showing similar symptoms. The decision to put him on antidepressants was not taken lightly, and may have saved his life. They have certainly enabled him to function and to continue with his education. He still requires a lot of support from CAMHS and school, but the support and medication together seem to help.

The treatment of mental illness in children has come a long way in the last twenty years. There is obviously room for improvement, particularly regarding communication within CAMHS and between CAMHS and other services.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:15 am 
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I agree that antidepressants are probably overused, but consider this:
You have a DC in an important exam year at school, say GCSE or A level. They have signs of depression and are unable to concentrate on their work, or even have the motivation to do the work. The school is putting increasing pressure on them as they fail to meet deadlines and it becomes a vicious circle with the child having panic attacks and having to leave lessons. The GP diagnoses depression or anxiety and states that the wait for CAMHS is about 6 months. There is a distinct possibility that your DC will have reached crisis point by this time, and you fear for their safety, and they fall between child & adult mental health services because of their age, or may have done by the time a referral actually comes through. The GP suggests that although your DC is under 18, antidepressants may help them to stay in school & that there should be some improvement within 2 weeks. You know that this would allow them to take their exams as planned which is what everyone seems to want for them. What would you do?
This scene is played out over & over in many GP surgeries around the country. The GPs want the best for these teenagers but know that mental health services for them are lacking in funds and availability and are faced with a difficult choice in how to treat their patients in a timely fashion.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 12:36 pm 
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It is a minefield and a choice I'd rather not have to face, scary mum. First of all, it would have to depend on how serious the situation is in terms of the severity of the depression. If it were only mild, I think I would have to consider how close to the exams the diagnosis was made and if the timing was really close, I might, but only might, agree to a short (just run up to the exams and the exams period) course of antidepressants. They have their problems and side effects, though - one of the young women on TV this morning said her working memory was badly affected so from the exams point of view, it could be pointless taking them anyway.

The more I think about it, the more the idea of antidepressants for teenagers scares me. Do we really know everything about their effect on developing brains? Perhaps cognitive-behaviour therapy should be the first step and while I appreciate it should be done by a professional in an ideal world, there was a post on here very recently with a useful link to a self-help mental health website. I'm not suggesting a 16 or 18 year old should do it on their own - parents would have to assume a therapist's role. A change in diet (if needed - to swap processed for whole foods and fruit/veg where possible), maybe some gentle herbal relaxants; meditation and mindfulness; also - worth checking for anaemia, as that can leave anyone feeling exhausted and in low mood, but I assume a GP diagnosing depression would have checked for that and thyroid issues in the first place.

It is a very tough question and in my mind it also highlights the need to keep a close eye on our DCs moods and to resist putting everything down to them 'just being teenagers' or 'hormonal' - that might help pick up issues before they become serious.

Clearly, 3b1g's illness was serious and required treatment and none of my suggestions above would have worked. It is scary to think that a lack of prompt diagnosis of mental health issues may lead to someone ending up in a hospital - could that have been prevented? Luckily, 3b1g's DS had much more luck with his treatment and it's good to hear he is doing well.

I realise I haven't really answered the 'what would you do' question, but I just don't know...

What would those in medical professions suggest?

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It felt like I hit rock bottom; suddenly, there was knocking from beneath... (anon.)


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 1:21 pm 
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My story will not be one that many will want to read or some will find difficult to read. I have been on and off with antidepressants over the years since a teenager and this year at the age of 48 I can finally say I am coming out of the chronic depression I have had since childhood....the solution has been drastic...leaving an extremely stressful but very well paid job in healthcare and training to be a psychotherapist. Now i feel frustrated that psychotherapy were never really on offer to me..it was the occasional bit of online CBT and just carry on with the meds ...... :|

The process involves a huge amount of self awareness and personal therapy. Eventually I have worked out that many of my problems are down to patterns of thinking and behaviour learned in childhood to manage anxiety. I see my children both have their little traits for coping with anxiety and they have learned thise to cope with my parenting- part of which has been to have high expectations for them. I am hoping I can change my way of thinking to help them not go through what I have been through.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 1:43 pm 
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DC17C wrote:
My story will not be one that many will want to read or some will find difficult to read. I have been on and off with antidepressants over the years since a teenager and this year at the age of 48 I can finally say I am coming out of the chronic depression I have had since childhood....the solution has been drastic...leaving an extremely stressful but very well paid job in healthcare and training to be a psychotherapist. Now i feel frustrated that psychotherapy were never really on offer to me..it was the occasional bit of online CBT and just carry on with the meds ...... :|

The process involves a huge amount of self awareness and personal therapy. Eventually I have worked out that many of my problems are down to patterns of thinking and behaviour learned in childhood to manage anxiety. I see my children both have their little traits for coping with anxiety and they have learned thise to cope with my parenting- part of which has been to have high expectations for them. I am hoping I can change my way of thinking to help them not go through what I have been through.

Why do you feel people would not want to read your story? Quite to the contrary, I think.

There are three important things I take from your post:
1. You suffered a lot and were let down - I am sorry to hear that; it must have been extremely hard for you.
2. You are coming out of your chronic depression - this is great news.
3. You have pointed out that our ways of parenting may lead to our DCs developing anxieties of their own. I think this is extremely important to realise so thank you for sharing this observation.

You felt you were failed by the healthcare system, so you decided to take charge. You have come up with a solution and are working on improving your health. This required you to change careers, which I imagine was not an easy decision to make, but has led to a very positive outcome - you have worked out where your problems come from and you are working on overcoming unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaviour. All these are really positive changes and I'm sure you will come out a winner. :) I think your story can give inspiration to people who face similar issues.

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It felt like I hit rock bottom; suddenly, there was knocking from beneath... (anon.)


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 4:29 pm 
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@DC17C I admire your courageousness and I wish more people would speak out about their difficulties.

I see many young people on a daily basis struggling with low self esteem, anxiety, depression, self harm, anorexia, anger issues etc... and almost all of them stem from felling that they need to be better than they are, guilt that they are unable to be better than they are, issues with friends being critical and insinuating that they should be better than they are, the media teachers and parents insinuating that they should be better than they are.

The pressure to be perfect is a pandemic amongst Young People in British society. Our children start off being protected in primary school and then are launched into the huge prison like institutions of the secondary system with little preparation (probably many of us on the forum have been lucky enough to pick the least institutionalised schools), which is an enormous shock. Our children have often never encountered the sorts of behaviours that they are faced with when they transition. This in itself causes enormous anxiety and distress. And then starts the race to be the best at... sport, or at maths or to be the most popular or to be the prettiest or to have the right clothes or friends all topped off by no free time, no time out of doors, too much homework, insecurities about sexuality and never being able to switch off from any of it because of social media.

I agree absolutely that anti-D's have their place in severe depression and have seen them work wonders when used in the right way alongside psychotherapy and if anxiety and depression is severe psychotherapy often doesn't work without medication, but it is sad that expensive drugs come before changing the system that leads to the problems in the first place. I for one would happily pay more tax if it were spent on improving our children's futures.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 5:12 pm 
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Eccentric wrote:
@DC17C I admire your courageousness and I wish more people would speak out about their difficulties.

I see many young people on a daily basis struggling with low self esteem, anxiety, depression, self harm, anorexia, anger issues etc... and almost all of them stem from felling that they need to be better than they are, guilt that they are unable to be better than they are, issues with friends being critical and insinuating that they should be better than they are, the media teachers and parents insinuating that they should be better than they are.

The pressure to be perfect is a pandemic amongst Young People in British society. Our children start off being protected in primary school and then are launched into the huge prison like institutions of the secondary system with little preparation (probably many of us on the forum have been lucky enough to pick the least institutionalised schools), which is an enormous shock. Our children have often never encountered the sorts of behaviours that they are faced with when they transition. This in itself causes enormous anxiety and distress. And then starts the race to be the best at... sport, or at maths or to be the most popular or to be the prettiest or to have the right clothes or friends all topped off by no free time, no time out of doors, too much homework, insecurities about sexuality and never being able to switch off from any of it because of social media.

I agree absolutely that anti-D's have their place in severe depression and have seen them work wonders when used in the right way alongside psychotherapy and if anxiety and depression is severe psychotherapy often doesn't work without medication, but it is sad that expensive drugs come before changing the system that leads to the problems in the first place. I for one would happily pay more tax if it were spent on improving our children's futures.

Thank you for your kind words and totally agree ...the pressure on children is enormous - my dd came home from school today saying she had been crying in chemistry because she is scared of getting things wrong when doing practicals....especially using bunsen burners and acids etc and the teacher seems to add to the situation to by being quite shouty and stressed herself. The whole system seems full of stress and stressed people and children are going to struggle to learn.


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