It has recently been revealed that the NHS has issued 1,572 anti-depressants prescriptions for children under the age of 5.
This statistic seems concerningly high for children of such a young age, and further research into the effects of anti-depressants on children has shown there could be little benefit, if any, of using the drugs.
The rising number of anti-depressants prescriptions for children could be a cause for concern, as they are usually only be prescribed under close supervision. It could mean there are less children who have access to specialist mental health services. The increased number of anti-depressant prescriptions for children could be a direct result of longer waiting times for these services.
Earlier this year, the NHS released figures for the amount of anti-depressants prescriptions for children, showing a shocking 1,572 children under 5 were prescribed with anti-depressants. It is understood that 703 of those were reportedly for one-year-olds, 188 for two-year-olds, 285 for three-year-olds, 381 for four-year-olds, and 718 prescriptions for five-year-olds.
Above the age of 5, the figures increase. For 11-year-olds, the numbers rose to an astonishing 6,000 prescriptions and 91,000 for 16-year-olds.
Recent research on anti-depressants prescriptions for children
The sheer amount of prescriptions issued to children is quite shocking when the official NHS guidance is that under 18’s should not take anti-depressants. Recent research into the effects of anti-depressants have supported the idea that anti-depressants can still be linked to increased suicides in younger persons, and there are fears that there are minimal benefits of using the drugs at that age.
There are also other theories that link to this research, stating that the use of anti-depressants in children can trigger thoughts of suicide and self-harm at such a young age. There are other fears that the use of anti-depressants can stunt brain development.
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