SSRI stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor. These medications are in a class of drugs called antidepressants. Antidepressants first started being heavily marketed in the 1980’s and 1990’s to adults for the treatment of depression and anxiety. Studies done during this time showed that SSRI’s had less negative side effects compared to depression medications that were already being used. Prozac was the first drug in this classification of antidepressants. Today not only are SSRI’s used for the treatment of depression and anxiety but they also are prescribed to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, pre- menstrual dysphoric disorder, and even urinary incontinence. When SSRI’s first started being prescribed they were intended for use in adults only but in the early part of the 2000’s they began being the treatment of choice for children suffering from depression and anxiety even though there use was not clinically studied for use in children. Today we now know a little more about the causes of these disorders and the affects antidepressants are having on children.
Posttraumatic stress disorder is one of the disorders that are being treated with SSRI’s. Posttraumatic stress disorder is an emotional disorder followed by trauma. PTSD can’t be diagnosed until at least a month after the trauma. Biological and psychological vulnerabilities play a role in the likelihood someone is to develop PTSD. This means that if certain characteristics or a history of anxiety runs in your family, you have a generalized biological vulnerability for PTSD. Social factors also seem to play a role in the development of the disorder. Results from a number of studies are consistent in showing that if you have a strong and supportive group of people around you, it is much less likely you will develop PTSD after a trauma (Friedman, 2009).
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a condition in which a woman has severe depression symptoms, irritability, and tension before menstruation. The causes of this disorder are unknown; however there are several things that researchers have thought to be contributing factors including hormonal changes that occur during a woman's menstrual cycle. Alcohol, obesity, large amounts of caffeine and a lack of exercise may also be the cause of this disorder (Storck, 2010). Cognitive therapy is the first choice of treatment for this disorder but studies have shown that SSRI’s that are effective for anxiety disorder in general may be helpful for PTSD.
Anxiety, also called angst or worry, is a psychological and physiological state characterized by somatic, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral components. There are several recognized anxiety disorders such as panic disorder. People with this condition have feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning. Other symptoms of a panic attack include sweating, chest pain, palpitations, and a feeling of choking, which may make the person feel like he or she is having a heart attack or "going crazy." Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is usually characterized by people that are plagued by constant thoughts or fears that cause them to perform certain rituals or routines. The disturbing thoughts are called obsessions, and the rituals are called compulsions. An example is a person with an unreasonable fear of germs who constantly washes his or her hands. There are currently 2.2 million people suffering with this disorder. The disorder is equally common among men and women. The median age of onset is 19, with 25 percent of cases occurring by age 14. One-third of affected adults first experienced symptoms in childhood. Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a condition that can develop following a traumatic and/or terrifying event, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, or a natural disaster. People with PTSD often have lasting and frightening...