Depression and Acne

In a previous post, I explained that recent research shows that Accutane probably doesn’t cause suicidal ideation in teens. Instead, the very fact that a teenager thinks that he needs Accutane means he is more likely to commit suicide.

Just yesterday, I ran across an interesting article that expounded on these findings. The basic  point of the article is that stress causes acne and increases one’s risk of suicide. Plus, negative feelings about one’s appearance increases the risk of suicide. That means teenagers and adults that have stress-related acne are at a very high risk of suicide.

I’ve always believed that my acne has a lot to do with stress. Not that there is a test to determine the root cause of my acne, but I’ve noticed that my breakouts get worse when I’m super-stressed. So obviously I was interested in this article.

Just to get this out in the open: I’m in no way suicidal. I enjoy life, even when it throws bad things at me. If anything, most of my stress comes from an intense concern for self-preservation. Dying is the last thing that I want to happen.

But here’s  the thing… one of the reasons that many teens and adults start feeling suicidal after using Accutane is that they don’t see the improvements they expected. These are people that they have no where else to turn. They started taking the expensive Accutane  because they had finally had it with their physical appearance. When the drugs didn’t work, they felt that they had reached an end.

That means the drug really is not to blame. The bigger problem is that doctors need to suggest counseling as well as drug therapy. Even though we know that medications don’t always work, we often forget that there are consequences to ineffective strategies. Encouraging everyone on Accutane to see a therapist doesn’t say anything about the drug. It’s just a safety net that will help the patient lead a more satisfying life regardless of how well the medication works.



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