Julie is 31. She has been on antidepressants since she was 14 years old. She told Dr. Richard Friedman that the medication saved her life. And in an op-ed in The New York Times he explains:
But now she was raising an equally fundamental question: how the drugs might have affected her psychological development and core identity.
It was not an issue I had seriously considered before. Most of my patients, who are adults, developed their psychiatric problems after they had a pretty clear idea of who they were as individuals. During treatment, most of them could tell me whether they were back to their normal baseline.
Dr. Friedman describes a dilemma for doctors and young patients... The medication, he says, saves lives, but at the same time he argues that doctors don't know enough about the long term effects. The title of the article sums it up nicely: "Who Are We? Coming of Age on Antidepressants"
We'll talk with Dr. Friedman on the show today, and with Dr. Norman Rosenthal, who has researched antidepressants for the last 25 years. If you've taken drugs like Prozac or Zoloft since adolescence, how has it affected you?