Somebody put Latuda and Wellbutrin together

Antidepressants can induce thoughts of suicide

Status: 01/28/2019 6:16 p.m. | archive
Psychiatric drugs are prescribed to help isolate the depressed from negative feelings.

Every year around 1.5 billion daily doses of antidepressants are swallowed in Germany. In many cases it helps to lighten the mood and overcome a severe depressive phase. But in exceptional cases the drugs can do exactly the opposite and trigger the urge to harm yourself - a rare but devastating side effect. In Germany alone, around 10,000 people commit suicide every year. For some, the desire to commit suicide only arises during treatment with antidepressants.

Less depression - but more suicide attempts

The statistics show that people receiving therapy with antidepressants suffer less from depression - and yet do not make fewer suicide attempts, and tend to even more than those who are not treated. Experts criticize the fact that antidepressants are often prescribed prematurely and uncritically without keeping an eye on the side effects. In a nationwide research project, psychiatrists have been studying sudden suicide attempts and suicides during therapy with so-called serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) for years. Out of 250,000 people who took these tablets, 85 became suicidal. SSRIs help severely depressed people function in everyday life. In some cases, however, they also create a desire to kill oneself. It is therefore important to provide psychiatric support and to educate your relatives.

The beginning is the most critical phase of therapy

The most critical phase of therapy is starting when the drug is new. But even after increasing or reducing the dose, the practitioner and relatives should keep an eye on the patient. Because stopping or reducing antidepressants can lead to withdrawal symptoms - and this also includes thoughts of suicide.

Morbid restlessness is a warning sign

Adolescents and young adults up to the age of 24 are particularly at risk of doing violence to themselves or others during SSRI therapy. This has been proven in many studies. But it also affects older people. A warning sign of suicidal behavior after the administration of antidepressants is pathological restlessness. Those affected cannot sit still, which is very tormenting. Doctors refer to this phenomenon as what is known as akathisia. It is dangerous if new suicide wishes or restlessness are not recognized as side effects of the therapy and if the dose of the medication is increased even further on the assumption that the depression is worsening.

Metabolism plays a role

A risk factor for suicidality could be that some people metabolize antidepressants more poorly for genetic reasons. As a result, the liver breaks down the active ingredient too slowly and it accumulates in the body. This increases the number of side effects. Genetic tests, which are intended to individually predict the effectiveness and tolerability of individual active ingredients, are currently still the subject of research. A reliable prediction of who will suffer from side effects is currently not possible: Even if a drug was initially well tolerated, it may be different the second time it is used.

Accompanying the patient is important

It is important that those affected and their relatives know the risk and are cared for by knowledgeable therapists. Doctors who only write a prescription without keeping an eye on the patient are acting negligently.

Affected people can find help here

If you feel concerned yourself, please contact the telephone counseling immediately. On the free hotlines (0800) 111 0 111 or (0800) 111 0 222 you can get help from advisors who have been able to point out ways out of difficult situations in many cases. The Agus association is the nationwide contact for relatives.

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Visit | 01/29/2019 | 8:15 pm