Saturday, March 03, 2007

Suicide Update

Psychiatric News, the newspaper of the American Psychiatric Association, has caused me a traumatic brain injury. How? Well, after reading the following, I hit my head against a wall so hard that I probably damaged at least 85% of my brain. Why?

The paper is beating the drum over the supposed relationship between a) the FDA placing a warning about the link between suicidality and SSRI usage and b) the subsequent increase in teen suicides. To arouse the ire of its audience, the piece stated:

"This is very disturbing news," said David Fassler, M.D., an APA trustee-at-large and a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Vermont. "The current data suggest that the decreased use of these medications is, in fact, associated with an increase in actual deaths attributable to suicide."

David Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America, echoed Fassler's concern.
In the article, nobody was interviewed who took an opposing view. Better yet, there was no data presented in the article that the FDA warning actually led to a decrease in SSRI prescriptions for youth. As I have attested to in two prior posts on this issue, the data do not actually support that SSRI prescriptions for youths declined when the FDA issued its warning. So if prescription rates did not go down, kinda hard to say that declining prescriptions led to more suicides.

Yet note how the mainstream psychiatric press and the mainstream media have reported this issue -- it's a pro-drug circus where science is omitted so that a panic can better be created. Funny how there are never a lack of "key opinion leaders" who are willing to step up and opine on these issues despite having no data to back their assertions.

Update: Turns out there were data indicating a decline in SSRI prescriptions, though this information did not become public knowledge until much later. But, it appears that despite decreased SSRI usage, suicide rates fell slightly in 2005.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps one day, an enterprising psychiatrist hauled before a state board of medical examiners will try to beat the rap by insisting that the board has no jurisdiction, as the constitution mandates the separation of church(es) and state.

It does seem worth a shot.

Anonymous said...