More Kids Using Antidepressants - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/8/04 - Tyler

More Kids Using Antidepressants

Most people think of depression as occurring mainly in adults and teenagers. But the fastest growing group of depression patients in the U.S. is pre-school children. And studies show the use of anti-depressants by pre-schoolers nearly doubled from 1998 to 2002.

A local teacher, who has been teaching pre-schoolers for more than 20 years, says anti-depressants may do more harm than good.

"I would be really careful giving those types of drugs to a pre-schooler because there's lots of changes going on, the brain is just developing, lots of development going on, and they need a lot of stimulation and things," Lynda Williams, pre-school teacher at The Stepping Stone School in Tyler, said.

But psychiatrists say medicine is the best way to cure clinical depression.

"These depressive episodes, when I was first in training 40 years ago, were not even acknowledged as depression," Dr. Charles Hauser, child psychiatrist at ETMC, said. "In the last 15 or 20 years, it's been clear that it is depression and it should be treated."

The only drug approved for treating depression in children is Prozac. But studies show the drug can actually cause more depression and even lead to suicide, although the number of these cases is relatively small.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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