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10 News Extra: Antidepressant drugs and teen suicide

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By:Dave Bohman

Carrollwood, Florida - Joey Casseday was just 16, when he hung himself in the family garage.

Joey was neglected as an infant, and then shuffled between foster homes, until he and three other boys came into the care of Dan and Lyn Casseday.

Dan says Joey went from troubled to grounded, but the physical and mental scars of an early childhood of neglect led the family pediatrician to prescribe Joey the prescription drug, Celexa.

DAN CASSEDAY, Son Committed Suicide:
“And it did seem to calm him a bit. He had a lot of ups and downs and it did seem to level him out a little bit. As far as we could tell the anti-depressant was working.”

But a series of personal setbacks: rejection by girls Joey wanted to date, the loss of a fast food job, and a wreck in the family car, may have contributed to a depression that Dan Cassedy say Joey hid well.

After his suicide, one year after being prescribed Celexa, Dan thought his son may have stopped taking his medication.

“And then we discovered after the autopsy that he had been taking it. So he killed himself, despite the fact that he was on an anti-dperessant. I don’t know if the medication put him over the edge.”

That’s why Dan is interested in the upcoming Food and Drug Administration study to see if there is a link between anti-depressants, and teen suicides.

Dan Casseday does not think the medication is responsible for Joey’s suicide.

But he worries some parents of emotionally troubled teens may see the antidepressant pills as a substitute for the hard work and counseling that many need.

Here is the list of the most common antidepressant prescription drugs:

PROZAC (fluoxetine)
ZOLOFT (sertraline)
PAXIL (paroxetine)
LUVOX (fluvoxamine)
CELEXA (citalopram)
LEXAPRO (escitalopram)
WELLBUTRIN (bupropion)
EFFEXOR (venlafaxine)
SERZONE (nefazodone)
REMERON (mirtazapine)

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