In 2003 the U.S. and European authorities sent out a series of public health warnings about the use of antidepressants in young people after clinical trials showed that they increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviour in children and teenagers. In February 2005 the warnings were strengthened and in May 2007 they were extended to young adults between the ages of 18 and 24. Anne Libby and her colleagues from the University of Colorado analyzed health-insurance claims from the U.S. from July 1997 to June 2007 to see how the treatment and diagnosis of depression had changed over this period. They found steady increases in the rate of depression diagnoses between 1999 and 2004 but a sharp fall after that. Doctors diagnosed fewer cases of depression with a 44% lower rate among children and adolescents, a 37% lower rate among young adults and a 29% lower rate among other adults. There was an 8% rise in suicides among youth and teens in 2004. Doctors prescribed fewer SSRIs but did not turn to older drugs to treat depression and anxiety or offer psychotherapy as an alternative.
You can find out more about this research at