Helping Children

Some Topics

  • Children and Depression

    The term "depression" is descriptive and vague. The best use of the term “depression’ in children is to point to a child who is unusually sad, critical and angry; a child who is not enjoying life and withdraws from school activities, play and close relationships with family and friends. There are social causes of depression and there are biological causes. Often the two sets of causes converge into one big problem.

    Social: All children are involved in competition and negotiation with other humans. If a child feels the he or she is losing a competitive struggle, the child feels a terrible sense of loss, withdraws, hides, cries and sometimes wants to die. If a child loses competitions often or has an effective oppressor close by, he or she feels dysphoric often or always. We call this social inhibition, oppression or suppression rather than depression.

    Biological: Many of the symptoms included under the title of “depression” are typical of common food-related diseases including obesity, hormonal dysfunction and delayed pattern food allergy.

    Depression Solution The biological causes of depression require diet revision. We suggest that a prudent parent who sees their child suffering depression and body symptoms would be wise to begin thorough diet revision at the earliest opportunity. Because brain dysfunction compromises judgment, learning and motivation, parents have to provide the right direction and support.

    Avoid Antidepressant Drugs

    Avoid Antidepressant Drugs

    The aggressive marketing of drugs that affect the brain has been developed into major social and biological determinants in the USA. This trend is also well established in Canada and promises to become a world-wide. One of the strategies of drug companies is to persuade physicians to prescribe drugs for non-approved conditions. This is referred to as “off-label indications.” Almost all the prescriptions for psychotropic drugs to children are “off label.”

    Antidepressants, for example, are chemicals that are added to a dysfunctional chemical mix that caused dysfunction and dysphoria in the first place. Few parents make any effort to alter their disease-causing lifestyle and few physicians make any effort to investigate and improve the child’s chemistry overall. Prozac is added, mindlessly to the dysfunctional chemical mix and its effects merge with caffeine, the chemistry of food additives, and contaminants, sugars, food allergy and airborne neurotoxins that act on the brain.

     In the early 1990’s in the USA and Canada, antidepressants were increasingly prescribed to children and adolescents without evidence of efficacy and safety. The US FDA issued a warning in 2003 regarding SSRIs, paroxetine (Paxil) and venlafaxine (Serotax), antidepressants similar to Prozac. The results of 3 trials involving children with depression did not show any benefit to taking paroxetine over placebo. In addition, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts and episodes of self-harm were more frequent among the paroxetine users than among those in the placebo group. In another study involving children with social anxiety disorder, 2.4% of the 165 children given paroxetine had suicide-related adverse events as compared with none of 157 children given a placebo. Vanlafaxine was also ineffective and doubled the rate of suicide.

    In response to the paroxetine warnings, Garland, a child psychiatrist stated: “These developments not only raise concerns about the presumed effectiveness and safety of SSRIs for young people, but also pose disturbing questions about publication bias and questionable interpretation of research data on the treatment of childhood depression. Garland points to the bias in drug trial reporting that deceives patients and physicians in all areas of medicine. If you add the overwhelming bias in favor of prescribing drugs to the exaggeration of benefits of some drugs over others to the suppression of negative information about drugs, then the use of drugs in medicine is not based on science, reliable evidence and rational thinking, but rather is an exercise in marketing and profiteering.

    Important drug warning: Paxil® (paroxetine hydrochloride) should not be used in children and adolescents under 18 years of age [Dear Health Care Professional Letter]. Mississauga (ON): GlaxoSmithKline Inc.; July 2003. [ii] Garland, E.J. Facing the Evidence: Antidepressant treatment in children and adolescents. CMAJ. Feb 17,2004:170(4)