Some ance treatments might cause increased depression, or they might not

Recent suicides connected to Accutane, a prescription acne medication, caused many people to discard their acne treatments out of fear that they would become depressed or suicidal. Researchers, however, aren’t really sure what the specific connection between Accutane and suicide is. Some have surmised that the drug causes suicidal ideation. Others, however, believe that the Accutane and the depression are two separate issues.

The first perspective is pretty easy to understand. Accutane causes depression, and depressed persons are more likely to commit suicide. East enough.

The second perspective, however, requires a bit more abstract thought. Researchers that fall into this camp believe that the depression existed all along, and was likely caused by poor self-confidence because of acne problems. The people that use Accutane are likely to be the ones with the biggest acne problems. They are, therefore, more likely to commit suicide with or without the drug. Even more complicated is the possibility that depressed acne sufferers see Accutane as a last-ditch effort. They have tried everything else before they turn to the prescription drug. When their acne doesn’t clear up quickly, they get even more depressed because they have exhausted all of their options. This puts them at greater risk of suicide.

This second possibility was only recently considered, so we don’t have a lot of research that supports either conclusion. It is, however, an interesting thought. If it is correct, then perhaps dermatologists should work more closely with mental health counselors to help patients cope with the possibility that they will live with acne for years rather than weeks.


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