Anti-depressants can help patients

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 18, 2006

To the Editor:

Yesterday most of the major media in our country carried a story about &8220;angry and grieving family members&8221; who pleaded with the Food and Drug Administration to place strong warnings on antidepressant medications citing a rise in suicidal thoughts and behavior in adults as well as children.

SSRI antidepressant medications such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Cymbalta etc. have been used effectively in treatment of depression since the early 1990s.

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Research has been extensive and is ongoing.

Symptoms of depression include crying spells, sad mood, disturbance in appetite energy sleep and concentration.

At times suicidal thoughts are included and may come and go as do all the symptoms of depression. The vast majority of the mental health profession who actually treat depression agree that SSRI antidepressants are safe and very effective.

The risk of an actual suicide is much higher in untreated depression.

If you choose to stop an antidepressant, please do so under your doctor’s supervision as some problems may occur even weeks later.

Aerobic exercise and outpatient counseling or psychotherapy are also effective in treatment of depression but the best treatment is a combination of exercise, counseling and SSRI antidepression medications.

Donald W. Blanton, PhD