Worry and anxiety is a normal thing that happens in our daily lives. It might have increased during the pandemic time and affected the children the worst. Children are being prescribed antidepressants in record numbers, new figures from the NHS reveal. In 2020, there were 231,791 prescriptions for the drugs issued to children aged between five and sixteen. The pandemic has led to short-term as well as long-term psychosocial and mental health implications for children and adolescents.
British doctors handed out antidepressant prescriptions for kids aged 5 to 16, a report says. When compared with the 2016 number, which is 189,457, there can be seen a surge in the number of children taking antidepressants. The British kids are taking 600 pill packets a day. Children who suffer from depression are taking antidepressants at high levels.
Health service guidance says that they should be offered to under-18s only in cases of moderate or severe depression alongside talking therapies. It was also found that the intake of pills for depression is because of the lack of psychologists in the country. Experts say that most of the country lacks the capacity of conducting therapy sessions and this paves way for the intake of pills.
As an alternative method, the psychologists are using the treatment, antidepressant pills. US Food and drug administrations say antidepressants cause or worsen suicidal thoughts in children. At the same time, the clinical trials have noted that there is a change in some of the children not for every.
The use of antidepressants is not usually recommended in children and young people under the age of 18. This is because there’s evidence that, in rare cases, they can trigger thoughts about suicide and acts of self-harm in this age group. concerns have also been raised that their use could affect the development of the brain in children and young people.
How antidepressants work:
It’s not known exactly how antidepressants work.
It’s thought they work by increasing levels of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. Certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, are linked to mood and emotion.
Neurotransmitters may also affect pain signals sent by nerves, which may explain why some antidepressants can help relieve long-term pain.
While antidepressants can treat the symptoms of depression, they do not always address its causes. This is why they’re usually used in combination with therapy to treat more severe depression or other mental health conditions.
Due to the pandemic and the lockdown, there is a lack of physical activity, physical meeting of friends, and social cohesion which according to the experts has affected children’s physical and mental well-being. Parents are unaware of the mental health of their children in some cases. Experts say the best option instead of taking pills is consultation with psychiatrists and proper therapy. Experts also say that this is a serious problem and no proper measures have been taken to decrease the effects or to prevent it.