Antidepressant use among youths increased during and after the pandemic, study reveals

The Covid-19 pandemic has had far-reaching effects on mental health, with a new study revealing a significant increase in antidepressant prescribing rates among young people aged 12 to 25. According to the study, the dispensing rate of antidepressants among this age group spiked nearly 64% faster than normal following the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020.

Of particular concern is the finding that female adolescents aged 12 to 17 experienced a staggering 130% increase in antidepressant prescriptions after March 2020, highlighting the unique challenges faced by this demographic during the pandemic. On the other hand, male young adults did not see a significant change in antidepressant prescribing rates.

Experts attribute the rise in antidepressant prescriptions to a combination of factors, including worsening mental health among youth, increased awareness and reduced stigma around seeking help, and exposure to negative events during the pandemic. The rise of telehealth also played a crucial role in making it easier for young people to access and maintain antidepressant prescriptions, as traditional avenues of therapy were limited during lockdowns.

It is essential to note that antidepressants can be extremely effective and even lifesaving in some cases, and experts advise against stigmatizing their use. Parents are encouraged to have open and honest discussions with their children about the pros and cons of antidepressants and seek advice from a pediatric psychiatrist if needed.

For young people experiencing drastic changes in behavior or mood, antidepressants may be a beneficial treatment option, but it is important to consult with a medical professional to develop a personalized treatment plan. Additionally, experts stress the importance of checking in on young people in their lives to provide support for their mental health during challenging times.

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Overall, the findings of this study underscore the urgent need to prioritize the mental health and well-being of young people, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. By addressing stigma, increasing awareness, and promoting open communication, we can work towards ensuring that young people receive the support and resources they need to thrive.


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