While antidepressants are designed to decrease the symptoms of depression, they occasionally have the opposite effect and can increase suicidal thoughts and actions.
Patients who take a class of drugs call selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may experience side effects such as violent behaviour, mania or aggression, which can all lead to suicide. It is therefore very important that you ask your doctor about the exact type of Anti-Depressant that is being prescribed and if it is an SSRI, then pay extra attention to the sufferer, as he or she may be greater risk of committing suicide.
What begins as withdrawing from friends and activities and a loss of interest in work can escalate to harming oneself. In clinical trials and public use, there have been cases where antidepressant users have thought about, attempted or committed suicide.
People under the age of 24 who suffer from depression are particularly warned that the use of antidepressants could increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviour. US Federal health officials unveiled proposed changes to the labels on antidepressant drugs in December 2006 to warn people of this danger.
A 2009 study showed increased risk of suicide after initiation, titration, and discontinuation of medication. A study of 159,810 users of various SSRI anti-depressants found that the risk of suicidal behaviour is increased in the first month after starting antidepressants, especially during the first 1 to 9 days.
Additionally Antidepressants have also been shown to have other dangerous side effects, including severe birth defects when a woman takes the drug during pregnancy. In other-words an anti-depressants should only be prescribed when the risk of not taking it outweigh the risk from taking the anti-depressants. Ultimately it is for the psychiatric professionals and caregivers to jointly decide whether the situation is dire enough to necessitate the prescription of anti-depressants.