Just Sociology

Exploring Antidepressants Alternatives & Social Causes of Teenage Mental Ill-Health

Mental health conditions, especially depression, have become more common among teenagers worldwide, leading to a rise in the prescription of antidepressant drugs. While these drugs have been found to be effective in treating depression symptoms, they are also associated with harmful side effects.

This article will explore the effectiveness and safety of antidepressant drugs, the increase in teen prescriptions of antidepressants, the research on the effectiveness of antidepressants, and the harmful side effects of antidepressants. Additionally, this article will discuss alternative treatments for mental ill-health, focusing on wilderness therapy and mindfulness.

Increase in Teen Prescriptions of Antidepressants

In the UK, teenagers with mental ill-health receive prescriptions for antidepressant drugs more often than any other group. Antidepressants are considered effective treatments for depression; however, the rise in prescriptions of these drugs among teenagers has led to concerns that medicalized solutions do not provide a long-term solution to the problem.

Rather, the treatment should be aimed at the underlying issues. As with any medication, the safety of antidepressant drugs is of utmost importance.

Research on the Effectiveness of Antidepressants

Research has been carried out to determine the effectiveness of antidepressant drugs in treating teenage depression. A study involving fluoxetine, commonly known as Prozac, found it to be more effective than taking a sugar pill.

Similarly, a study involving Sertraline revealed that it was effective in reducing the symptoms of depression among teenagers. However, these drugs are associated with side effects, such as suicidal behavior, especially in the early stages of treatment.

Moreover, as the brain is still developing during the teenage years, it is essential to monitor the impact of antidepressants on brain development.

Harmful Side Effects of Antidepressants

Drug trials, conducted by drug companies or independent researchers, determine the safety and effectiveness of these drugs. However, there have been instances where drug companies have hidden or misrepresented raw data, as evidenced by the case of GlaxoSmithKline, which was found guilty of healthcare fraud.

This led to doubts regarding the safety of antidepressants, especially when harmful side effects are not disclosed. For instance, in some cases, antidepressants can lead to weight gain, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, or suicide.

Wilderness Therapy

Wilderness therapy is an alternative treatment for depression that involves therapeutic interventions in natural environments, such as mountains or forests. This therapy is effective because it allows teenagers to gain a new perspective on their problems by being immersed in nature, away from distractions of everyday life.

One of the successful wilderness therapy providers is the Wilderness Foundation in the UK, who work in tandem with the University of Essex to provide one-on-one counseling.


Mindfulness is an alternative treatment for mental ill-health that promotes non-invasive psychological therapy, stress reduction, mental clarity, and meditation.

Mindfulness techniques include simple breathing exercises, body scans, and visualization.

A study involving mindfulness-based cognitive therapy demonstrated that this approach helped reduce depression and other symptoms of mental ill-health. Moreover, mindfulness helps teenagers to focus more on the present moment and reduce negative thinking about the future.


The effectiveness and safety of antidepressant drugs have been a topic of debate among health experts. While these drugs have been found to be effective in treating depression symptoms, they are also associated with harmful side effects.

Consequently, alternative treatments for mental ill-health may be beneficial. Wilderness therapy and mindfulness are alternative treatments that have been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of depression while providing emotional support for teenagers.

Mental ill-health should not be a taboo topic, and teenagers should be encouraged to talk about their problems, and families should be supported while seeking alternative treatments.Teenage depression and mental ill-health is a growing concern worldwide. In this article, we will explore the case studies of teenage mental ill-health and the link between antidepressants and suicide.

Additionally, we will discuss the social causes of teen mental ill-health and the need for preventative measures. Jess’s Depression and Treatment

Jess, a teenager from the UK, suffered from depression and anxiety due to the stress caused by school.

She was prescribed Sertraline, an antidepressant, which helped to alleviate her symptoms. However, the drug was associated with side effects, such as nausea and a decrease in appetite.

Jess’s mother, despite being worried about the side effects, decided to continue with the treatment, as she saw an improvement in Jess’s condition. Jess also received counseling, which helped her to understand the root cause of her depression and anxiety.

For Jess, a therapeutic intervention was a crucial part of her treatment journey, and she has been able to manage her depression and anxiety effectively.

Rachel and the Link Between Antidepressants and Suicide

Rachel was a teenager who had been prescribed Sertraline to treat her depression. However, like many medications, it carried side effects that she found distressing.

Her clinical team responsible for healthcare services discovered a causal link between Sertraline and suicidal behavior. Concerned for patients like Rachel, the team reviewed the guidelines for prescribing antidepressants and recommended changes that have now been adopted by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

This case highlights the importance of recognizing and addressing the harmful side effects of antidepressants, especially with regard to those who may be at high risk of suicidal behavior. Social Causes of Jess’s Anxiety

Jess’s anxiety was linked to the stress caused by school.

The school system places a lot of pressure on students to excel in exams, which can be overwhelming, leading to anxiety and depression. Additionally, the social context in which Jess was growing up, peers, and family expectations added to her stress.

The study environment experienced by students can also contribute to anxiety disorders, including overcrowding and high demand. Jess’s experience underscores the role of underlying societal issues, including the school system, peer pressure, and family expectations, in the manifestation of adolescent anxiety.

Changing Society

Modern society has undergone significant changes in recent decades. While these changes bring new opportunities, they also pose new challenges for young people.

For example, the rise of social media has created a new environment for bullying, leading to anxiety and depression among teenagers. Furthermore, the pressure to keep up with changes in society, society itself, is a significant issue that has increased the demand for preventative measures.

To address these issues, steps need to be taken to empower teenagers, including providing education on mental health and self-care.


The case studies of Jess and Rachel demonstrate the risks associated with the use of antidepressants and the importance of addressing the underlying social causes of teenage mental ill-health. The need for preventative measures cannot be overemphasized, given the rising trend of mental ill-health among teenagers.

By empowering teens with education and support, we can reduce the stigma around mental health and provide a safer and more effective path to healing. As a society, we must address the root causes of mental ill-health and take steps to mitigate the risks of medication-based treatments.

It is only through a holistic approach that we can make progress towards a healthier future for teenagers. In conclusion, the effectiveness and safety of antidepressant drugs have been a hot topic for health professionals with concerns about harmful side effects.

Alternative treatments, including wilderness therapy and mindfulness, have shown promise in reducing symptoms while providing emotional support for teenagers. Furthermore, case studies of teenage mental ill-health highlight the importance of addressing the social causes of depression and anxiety while recognizing the potential risks associated with medication-based treatments.

Educating and empowering teenagers with preventative measures is essential to reduce stigmatization around mental health and pave the way for a healthier future.


Q: Are antidepressants always associated with harmful side effects?

A: Although antidepressants can be effective in the treatment of depression, they carry the risk of side effects, including weight gain, insomnia, sexual dysfunction or suicidal behavior. Q: Can alternative treatments for depression be beneficial?

A: Yes, alternative treatments for mental ill-health, such as wilderness therapy and mindfulness, have been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of depression. Q: Can societal factors contribute to teenage anxiety?

A: Yes, societal factors such as peer pressure and the school system can contribute to teenage anxiety and depression. Q: What steps can be taken to provide preventative measures for teenage mental ill-health?

A: Providing education on mental health and self-care can help empower teenagers and reduce stigma around mental health, resulting in more effective forms of preventative measures.

Popular Posts