Brain Health, Medicine

How Antidepressants Might Cause Autism

Pregnant Mothers Beware – Antidepressants Might Cause Autism When Taken in This Trimester

It’s estimated 1 in 45 children born in the United States will be be diagnosed with autism.

That’s fairly alarming and indicates there’s got to be something going on beneath the surface leading to these extremely high diagnosis rates.

The truth is, there’s a wide range of theories out there about what’s causing the autism epidemic. Last week, I wrote an article where researchers theorized pregnant mothers with PCOS have a greater chance of giving birth to an autistic child.

While they weren’t able to say with certainty that PCOS was responsible for autism, their theory that elevated levels of the mother’s sex hormones could cause autism seems reasonable.

Knowing how sensitive children are during gestation, this next theory also seems plausible:

A new study is leading researchers to believe pregnant women using antidepressants in the third trimester could be at greater risk of giving birth to a child with autism.

Though their research isn’t conclusive, after studying the health files of 140,000 children, they feel confident enough to publish their theory in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association).

According to The Monitor Daily:

Henning Pedersen, a researcher working for the Aarhus University, has declared that there is indeed a slight correlation between SSRI [a type of antidepressant known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors] use and autism spectrum disorder, although it may turn out to be yet another goose chase. The medical specialist reinforced the fact that these aspects should be limited within the confines of the doctor-patient confidentiality.

Approximately 13 percent of expecting mother[s] take antidepressants for any number of psychological disorder[s]. Pedersen stresses…that it is very important for a pregnant woman to discuss her case with her obstetrician before reaching a decision.

There’s much to be written about the benefits and the drawbacks of antidepressants, but a study like this seems to confirm what many of us in the medical establishment already suspect…

While useful in instances, SSRIs can also be problematic.

That’s why physicians typically advise pregnant women not to take antidepressants during pregnancy, especially during the third  trimester.

During this period of gestation, the infant’s brain is beginning to form and is highly susceptible to environmental influences, including what the mother is eating and supplementing with (in terms of medications).

This means a child’s developing brain could definitely be negatively affected by the influence of these chemicals.

This is also a big reason why a minority of physicians are starting to recommend SSRIs with less frequency. There are concerns that SSRIs modulate sensitive neural connections and don’t do enough to get to the root of the cause of conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and more.

I wouldn’t be shocked at all if further research proves their theory that antidepressants cause autism.

Studies likes this continue to implicate external influences as being a likely cause for the rise in autism rates nationwide.

That’s why, when you think about how sensitive and impressionable a child is while developing in the womb, it makes perfect sense to do all you can to make the gestational process as “natural” as possible.


Talk soon,
Dr. Wiggy