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Mental health crisis of Generation Prozac


This is a follow-up to Niall McCrae’s TCW article ‘Is Prozac a depopulation device?’ published last month. 

THERE has been a noticeable rise in the medicalisation of both adults and children in the past two decades. This appears to be changing, in part at least, our sense of what it means to be a person; indeed, at one level, it appears to be an assault on our humanity.

A growing number of pupils in Scottish schools are diagnosed with an additional support need, coupled with a substantial rise in Child Disability Payments for mental and behavioural disorders. The University of Aberdeen reported in January 2023 that mental health prescriptions for children had risen by nearly 60 per cent since 2015. Additionally, in one month of last year it was observed that more than a million Scots in our ‘Prozac Nation’ are taking antidepressant drugs – close to one in four of the adult population.

Jefferey Jaxen, an investigative journalist, recently presented a report on the devastating side effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the American alternative current affairs programme The HighWire. He reports that although SSRIs are designed to decrease the symptoms of depression, there are instances when they have the opposite effect, especially in children and young adults. Other side effects include an increase in anxiety and agitation.

In order to learn, the mind must be in an optimum state, open to new ideas and with the ability to think clearly through those ideas and communicate them either verbally or in writing. Taking a drug which inhibits the ability to think will directly reduce the ability to learn, achieve qualifications, and become an economically active, independent human being. It could also be argued that the colossal investment in education outcomes via initiatives like the Scottish Attainment Challenge is being somewhat offset by the investment by the health service in prescribing life-changing pharmaceutical interventions, with many consumers (including children) on never-ending repeat prescriptions, thus joining Big Pharma’s herd of cash cows.

Another key side effect of SSRIs is sexual dysfunction. Jaxen quotes Dr Joanna Moncrieff, professor of critical and social psychiatry at University College London, who says: ‘The majority of people taking SSRIs will get some form of sexual dysfunction – there’s no debate about that.’ The NHS lists loss of libido (reduced sex drive), difficulty achieving orgasm during sex or masturbation in men, and difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction) as side effects associated with taking SSRIs. Dr Moncrieff explains that as the drugs are prescribed for sex offenders to curb their libido, it is unsurprising that these symptoms persist. For children taking this class of drugs, does this interference impact on the natural biological process of puberty on both a physical and emotional level?

The birth rate in Scotland has been in decline since 2008. For a population to replace itself, the total fertility rate (TFR) needs to be 2.1. National Records of Scotland has reported that Scotland’s TFR dropped from 1.30 in 2021 to 1.28 in 2022, a record low. With approximately 1,000 fewer births in 2023, this record looks set to be broken. The impact is now being seen in the gradual decrease in primary school numbers, down 15,551 in the past five years. As SSRIs are now in their third decade of use, it is worth considering them as a possible contributory factor.

Perhaps a way forward is to ensure that the information detailing the side effects is passed on to patients by the medics in whom they trust to ‘first do no harm’? Without such knowledge, informed consent simply cannot be given.

The science behind the use of SSRIs as the solution to a complex problem has been challenged, and yet, despite the knowledge that they are highly addictive and cause damage at the individual and collective levels, the number of prescriptions being written show no sign of slowing. Why?

This article was first published by the Scottish Union for Education. 

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Julie Sandilands
Julie Sandilands
Julie Sandilands is an English/business teacher who worked in several secondary schools in Fife until 2017. Now based in Cumbria, she works as a private tutor teaching children both in and out of mainstream provision.

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