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Know Better

Can Medications Treat Suicide?

When it comes to preventing suicide or stopping suicidal thinking there is no magic bullet.  There is no medication or vitamin that exists that can immediately stop or promise to 100% stop suicidal thoughts, feelings or action. Both medication and vitamins need to be taken consistently - as in every day- over a period of time- as in several weeks to months- to truly show an effect. 

There are only 2 medications that have substantial effort to reduce suicidal thoughts - they are Lithium and Clozapine.  These medications are usually NOT first line treatments for youth, even if they struggle with chronic suicidal thoughts or action.

Any other medication prescribed is aimed at treating the underlying condition that provokes suicidal thoughts, but cannot treat suicidal thoughts itself.

 Can Vitamins or Supplements

Treat Suicide?

No.  There is no vitamin or supplement that has evidence to treat or prevent suicide.  However some vitamins have emerging evidence to treat underlying conditions such as anxiety and depression.  In addition, there is good evidence that several supplements, such as Omega 3 in Fish Oil when taken consistently and over time can support overall mental wellness and health. 

In general, vitamins take a much longer time to demonstrate improvement of symptoms.  Medications are specifically designed for certian effect.  Vitamins are not.  There are certian supplements, however- such as NAC or 5-HTP which enter specific pathways and can have a more robust and speedy effect. 

 

 

Is it better to use

Medication or Vitamins to treat my child's mental health?

In my work I have seen both sides of the coin. I have used supplements to support reducing and even removing psychiatric medications.

I have also seen patients decompensate significantly while trying to be on supplements alone, and restarted them on medications that sustained their life and sanity.


Whether you are considering using medications or supplements to treat an illness or improve your mental health, please do so under the instruction of someone skilled, knowledgeable and ideally credentialled.

If it is for medication, see a licensed, experienced medical professional. Ask them for their experience with these medications and children.  Since there is such a paucity of mental health care providers, very often inexperienced providers are left caring for children. 

 

A Board Certified Child Psychiatrist  [M.D./ D.O.] is the most qualified, trained and experienced health professional to see if you are considering diagnosis and/or medications as treatment for your child. The next best would be a board certified Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrician [M.D./D.O.].  The next best would be your own pediatrician or family physician. There are several adult psychiatrists who also see teenagers because there are not enough child psychiatrists.  There are several nurse practitioners and physician assistants who also work with children. Please ask for their experience and comfort level before choosing to have them work with your child. In certian states psychologists [PhDs/PsyDs] can also prescribe psychiatric medications.  I do not advise or support non medically trained professionals to prescribe medications to children.

A Naturopathic Medical Doctor [NMD] is the most qualified, trained and experienced professional to see if you are considering using supplements/vitamins for your child.  Integrative Psychiatrists, Integrative Medical Doctors [M.D.], Nutritional Psychiatrists [M.D.], Funtional Medicine Doctors and Chiropractors [D.C.] also will support and reccomend vitamins. 

Regardless of who you see, you and your child must feel comfortable, heard, and trust the professional you choose to work with. 

 

The ultimate goal is to help mental wellness prosper with the least harm and the greatest potential for good. We often do not know that potential until we make an informed decision to trial a medication, a supplement, or even a particular type of therapy.

Please work with your psychiatrist or provider to design a medication and/or supplement regime that works for you. Do not be afraid to ask them any and all of your questions. If you have found a good one, they will answer all of your questions, give you options to choose from, support you in your decision, and will be with you every step of the way.

Shivana Naidoo, MD

 

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