The Great Antidepressant Freak Out of 2015

Like you, I have heard of the study that says antidepressants have an increased risk of autism, by apparently 87%. Now people are freaking out and blaming antidepressants like some still freak out about vaccines.


First of all, let’s calm down and get some facts. The study does not, I repeat, not, have any distinction between the antidepressant use and the occurrence of clinical depression. According to Science Alert, the chances of developing autism are only 1%, and the chances of developing autism with certain antidepressants are 1.87%. It’s kind of like saying that one third of a class failed a test when the class only has three students. Sometimes, we have to get some more background information in order to avoid the Great Freak Out which comes from headline-grabbers.


It now seems that in cases of things like autism studies, even mainstream media follows the supermarket tabloid in the alarmist style of making people freak out. There is a saying in the news: “If it bleeds, it leads.” Apparently, due to so little being known about autism and most disabilities, they definitely bleed. So, grabbing the headlines is an “increase of developing autism with these antidepressants is 87 PERCENT!!!” and most people are afraid. I, however, am not impressed. I need some more background information before I should learn to hate myself even more, which is what seems to be the aims of people who are afraid of autism.
Yes, autism can have a debilitating effect on one’s life and its quality. But does the autistic person have to hate themselves? The thing is, I am terrified of the children with autism and their self-esteem. Many of us have only found their self-esteem later in life, long beyond their cultural significance of a society that focuses on youth and neurotypicality. I have only begun to learn that I am an equal being who is capable of being loved-and I’m 38! My age beside, to treat autism as a disqualifier of love is detrimental to everyone in the family. This is why we freak out: we treat autism and other disabilities as disqualifiers and dehumanizers, like we treat dark skin color or being a woman. These freak-outs of autism risk are ableist.


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Autistic woman in her 40s, bringing attention to issues that affect her and her kind.

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