Antidepressants and Alternative Approaches to Helping Children and Adolescents Struggling With Depression

Johnson, Thomas B.
November 2010
Ethical Human Psychology & Psychiatry;2010, Vol. 12 Issue 3, p238
Academic Journal
This article develops the thesis that feelings of unhappiness and depression are an inherent and unavoidable part of being alive. Depression should not necessarily be seen as a medical illness or as a type of mental illness. Of course, frequently occurring feelings of depression that create distress and dysfunction should be properly evaluated before developing potentially effective interventions. Mainstream perspectives offered by the National Institute of Mental Health and alternative perspectives on both the nature of depression and ways of supporting individuals struggling with depression are offered in this article. Antidepressants are now the most widely prescribed drugs in the United States. Critical reviews of the value of antidepressants have found them lacking both in terms of efficacy and safety. Effective and safe interventions should be based on accurate assessments of what is contributing to disabling and recurrent feelings of depression. Appropriate evaluation of sleep patterns, exercise, nutrition, stress factors, cognitive factors, medical illnesses, and so on, need to be conducted as a foundation for developing appropriate interventions. Any effective intervention needs to be based on the well-established medical dictum, "first, do no harm."


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