Sunday Independent: CPsychI Director of Communications Dr Maeve Doyle discusses rise in anti-depressant prescriptions for children and adolescents
- September 14, 2020
- Category: Blog
Speaking with Sunday Independent journalist Ali Bracken, CPsychI Director of Communications snd Public Education Dr Maeve Doyle discussed the rising numbers of young people who are prescribed anti-depressants in Ireland.
Dr Doyle also discussed the strain on CAMHS services. Read the whole article, which is behind a paywall, here.
Figures released to the Sunday Independent following a Freedom of Information request show that the number of children under the age of 15 (with furtehr breakdowns for those under 11) being prescribed anti-depressants has risen significantly.
Speaking with the Independent, Dr Maeve Doyle discussed how this can be attributed to an increase in the population or other contributing factors, including access to CAMHS services.
“It might come as a shock that children would need pharmacological medication. Some children are so anxious they are unable to eat and their breathing is fast. They can have physical manifestations. Their minds are racing, some of them are not able to go to school and cannot play with their peers” said Dr Doyle, who is also director of communications and public education with the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland.
“If children are feeling like that, they may not be able to access talk therapy. They might need medication to avail of talk therapy. Child psychiatrists do not reach for the SSRIs (anti-depressants) first.”
Dr Doyle explained that children prescribed anti-depressants would have to be referred to CAMHS, which deals with moderate to severe mental health disorders:
“We would do an extensive assessment first, including talk therapy. We might also try cognitive therapy. When symptoms are severe, we will try medication in addition to therapy.”
Bracken also spoke with Dr Vincent McDarby, a member of the Psychological Society of Ireland. Dr McDarby expressed concern that long waiting times for primary care services, which deals with mild to moderate mental health cases, can cause deteriorating conditions for patients that may then required medication.