Experts Debunk Claim That Antidepressants Can Cause Autism

By Abbie Kraft, Parent Herald April 21, 06:29 am
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Researchers debunk the link of antidepressants and autism.
(Photo : Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Pregnancy often causes hormonal changes, which can affect the mother's mental health. Some pregnancies are tied to depression, but depressed mothers are quite hesitant with taking antidepressants as it can potentially place the baby's health at risk for autism.

Pregnant women are sometimes caught in a dilemma between their baby's health and their mental health struggle. Mothers who struggle with depression during pregnancy fear that taking antidepressants can cause autism.

Contrary to popular beliefs, a new study explains that antidepressants may not be that much of a threat for pregnant mothers, as mentioned by TIMEThe study, published in JAMA, cites that genes that are linked to mental illness are more feasible in terms of causing autism, compared to antidepressants. 

Studies regarding anti-depressants and its link to autism are yet to be verified. One of the factors being looked upon is depression itself. Researchers are still trying to weigh if it is the depression or the antidepressant that causes autism.

"Mothers who have depression and other mental health symptoms tend to have less positive facial expressions, fewer verbalization, and even engage in certain types of behaviors that don't always focus on the safety of the child in the same way," Dr. Sheehan Fisher, a professor of psychiatry, stated. "What our focus is on is how do we best treat the mother so that her symptoms don't get in the way of her being able to bond with the child and the impact that can have on the infant long-term."

Mental health disorder can strain the bond between the mother and the baby but not medications, New York Times reported. Some mothers are hesitant with taking antidepressants during their pregnancy. Experts, however, reveal that it is more dangerous to ignore mental health concerns during pregnancy, thus one should seek help as soon as possible.

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