Description

In 2017, suicide was found to be the second leading cause of death for people aged 10 - 34 in the United States. At least 90% of suicides are found to be comorbid with mental illness, most commonly: depression. Research suggests depression develops due to a combination of environmental, psychological, and biological factors. Imbalances in neurotransmitters, specifically serotonin (5-HT), is one of the leading hypotheses for the biochemical basis of depression. On this basis, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed antidepressant and have been shown to be an effective treatment for moderate to severe depression. However, in 2004, the FDA mandated that SSRIs be given a ?black-box? label warning indicating the relationship between the medication and increased risk for suicidal ideation and behaviors. This literature review seeks to investigate the available research on the mechanisms of SSRIs in the treatment of depression, and their highly contested relationship with suicide risk. I aim to make sense of this data and determine where the evidence points in regard to the costs and benefits of prescribing SSRIs, as well as the kind of future investigation needed to fully understand these drugs.

COinS
 

Selective Serotonin-Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): Mechanism for Treatment of Depression and Relationship with Suicide Risk

In 2017, suicide was found to be the second leading cause of death for people aged 10 - 34 in the United States. At least 90% of suicides are found to be comorbid with mental illness, most commonly: depression. Research suggests depression develops due to a combination of environmental, psychological, and biological factors. Imbalances in neurotransmitters, specifically serotonin (5-HT), is one of the leading hypotheses for the biochemical basis of depression. On this basis, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed antidepressant and have been shown to be an effective treatment for moderate to severe depression. However, in 2004, the FDA mandated that SSRIs be given a ?black-box? label warning indicating the relationship between the medication and increased risk for suicidal ideation and behaviors. This literature review seeks to investigate the available research on the mechanisms of SSRIs in the treatment of depression, and their highly contested relationship with suicide risk. I aim to make sense of this data and determine where the evidence points in regard to the costs and benefits of prescribing SSRIs, as well as the kind of future investigation needed to fully understand these drugs.

 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.