Last week’s post about Antidepressants and Autistic Spectrum Disorder came with an article attached. This article was first sent to and first turned down by BMJ Open because it contained references to a set of animal studies. BMJ Open it turns out is a human studies only journal.
The interest in the animal studies listed below is that animals conceiving and giving birth while on SSRIs do not have depression or other nervous problems but their offspring appear to have neurodevelopmental delay at a greater rate. It’s tricky to establish neurodevelopmental delay in animals but one accepted marker is asexuality and these offspring are more likely to be asexual. Asexuality features because of an assumption it points to a disturbance in social functioning.
 Polleux F, Lauder JM. Toward a developmental neurobiology of autism. Mental Retardation & Development Disabilities Research Reviews. 2004; 10:303-317.
 Maciag D, Simpson KL, Coppinger D, Lu Y, Wang Y, Lin RC, Paul IA. Neonatal antidepressant exposure has lasting effects on behaviour and serotonin circuitry. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2006a; 31(1):47-57.
 Maciag D, Coppinger D, Paul IA. Evidence that the deficit in sexual behavior in adult rats neonatally exposed to citalopram is a consequence of 5-HT1 receptor stimulation during development. Brain Research. 2006b; 3(125): 171–175.
 Rayen I, Steinbusch H, Charlier TD, Pawluski JL. Developmental fluoxetine exposure and prenatal stress alter sexual differentiation of the brain reproductive behaviour in male rat offspring. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013; 38:1618-1629.
 Khatri N, Simpson KL, Lin RC, Paul IA. Lasting neurobehavioural abnormalities in rats after neonatal activation of 5-HT 1A & 1B receptors: possible mechanism for 5-HT dysfunction in ASD. Psychopharmacology. 2013; 231:1191-1200.
 Vieira ML, Hamada RY, Gonzaga NI, Bacchi AD, Barbieri M, Moreira EG, Mesquita SF, Gerardin DC. Could maternal exposure to the antidepressant fluoxetine and St John’s Wort induce long-term reproductive effects on male rats? Reproductive Toxicology. 2013; 35:102-107.
There is no suggestion from this literature that asexuality in people is down to antidepressant use in pregnancy or childhood, and many of those viewing themselves as Asexual appear socially gifted rather than disadvantaged.
It’s a racing certainty that some asexual and transgender states go back centuries, maybe millennia. The key word is some.
Asexuality came on to the radar for many people with the creation of AVEN and an internet presence in 2001. It has grown rapidly since. This may reflect the emergence of the internet. The people best placed to work out what might be going on is the asexual community.
When the first cases of people becoming suicidal on SSRIs were reported a key factor that persuaded many was the ability of some of those who were put on these drugs to tell the difference between treatment induced suicidality, which was new, and the suicidality linked to depression. “Doc I’ve been suicidal before, but this was different”. A key strategy for pharmaceutical companies was to blur distinctions and deny the validity of individual observations.
The best way to nail down a possible contribution of serotonin reuptake inhibiting antidepressants to some cases of asexuality will require the asexual community to get involved in exploring variations in asexuality. This is dangerous and maybe impossible if done in a manner that threatens the identity of members of the community. But it’s difficult to celebrate difference fully and to call for its recognition without being willing to explore wherever difference leads.
The issues of asexuality and antidepressants was touched on previously. The effects of many of these psychotropic drugs on sexual functioning is profound. If they may influence the development of some asexual states, what about a possible effect on Gender Dysphoria? This will be touched on in a linked post later this week.
There are, apparently, more and more children questioning their sexual orientation and at an ever younger age. In fact, I feel sure that there is a TV programme covering the issue about to air – unless it’s already been on actually. There was a discussion this morning re:- appropriate age to watch/ discuss the issue, but just can’t think which programme it was on. Pays to either ‘watch’ these things with due attention or get on with daily routines – trying to do both obviously doesn’t work! Of the bit I heard, my feeling was that very many children love to cross-dress etc. – nothing to worry about – sorts itself out in the end! Now, I’ve read this post and my mind is far less set on the ‘sorts itself out’ line. Whatever will be found out next about the horrors of SSRIs! Do pharma companies declare the ‘ingredients’ that they use in their particular SSRI or is there some sort of ‘granny’s secret ingredient’ air about the whole matter?
Mary I think the programme was today on BBC One Breakfast. One mother said her little lad decided at age of 4 that ‘God had made a mistake’ and she then lived as a girl, happily, never changed her mind. One comment that concerned me a lot was a contributer saying they could give drugs to halt puberty and start it again when ready!
In Rachel Carson’s ‘Silent Spring’, didn’t fish become transgender and then couldn’t reproduce. The theory was that so many estrogens in the Pill were getting flushed into the sewers and thence into water courses, rivers etc, that the fish were changing sex, or becoming hermaphrodite. Could it be that, as our drinking water goes round and round many times, and as so many millions of the population are taking SSRIs, the contents of these drugs too are getting into the water and affecting those of us who are susceptible? Or is that too fishy by half?
Have just searched BBC progs. for the transgender piece about which I was so vague yesterday. It seems the papers are full of it since 30/10/16, as are politicians. IT WAS ON CBBC of all places apparently – aimed at 6 year olds and over! Called ‘It’s a Girl’, it’s the story of an 11 year old boy who,( as you’d heard, Heather), is using drugs to halt puberty. It’s on CBBC website apparently. An eleven year old CANNOT be given medication without parental consent. I would go as far as to say that giving consent to this end is a child protection issue. It really makes you wonder what’s going on here. Those in favour of the programme say that it shares the message that we need to accept our ‘differences’ – I’m wondering if that particular child is being allowed to show his ‘difference’ or are the parents steering him into their ‘perfect child’?
SSRI = Satan’s Special Recipe – Ingest!
Or, Soul Stealing Reality Inhibitor!
Unfortunately, in my opinion, I believe that SSRI’s and vaccinations, may be contributing to the issues we are witnessing today.
It is so sad to see children as young as five, already having to face what gender they want to be.
I have also heard of children, as young as five, being depressed.
Are these toxins crossing through the mothers placenta and causing havoc, long before the baby is born?
Could these drugs, have a lot to do with developmental disorders, suicide, gender and transgender issues, at a very young age?
I strongly have a theory that SSRI’s and vaccinations cause damage on a cellular level, as well as the developing brain.
Sorry to be back on the alcohol bandwagon again(!) but, in cases of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, infertility (mainly male if I correctly recall) and genital malformation are known possibilities – and quite highly so, I think. May these be some of the asexual cases mentioned here? If alcohol – a drug – can have such severe consequences pre-birth then it doesn’t take a genius to believe that SSRIs – even stronger drugs – can cause even more devastation does it?
‘There’s nowt as queer as folk’ is the saying and how true it is! Long gone are the days when girls played with dolls and prams, boys with cars and trucks. The new regime for nursery education demanded that, in order to ‘fully develop’ a ’rounded individual’, you had to make sure that ALL youngsters had equal access to BOTH types of toys. Fair enough – not all girls like dolls and some boys love to do a bit of the ‘caring’ stuff. (My observation is that boys like a pram mainly because it has wheels and it’s good for charging around with if given the chance!).
Now, we’ve moved on again and boys who love dressing up are given a questioning look. Girls who like cars are fine but let a girl want to grow up to be a lorry or coach driver and the questioning look returns. Never satisfied are we – always have to question anything that’s slightly different.
On the present transgender issue – this is different. It’s not a case of preferred toys or creating a fully-rounded individual – this is nursery children talking about ‘being of the wrong sex’. It’s almost as if they are aware of being that way around the age that children usually begin to realise that ‘humans’ fall into two separate categories of male and female in the first place! They seem to suffer a deep yearning for being of the opposite sex. It’s almost as if a girl who feels she should be a boy is more boyish than the majority of boys, or a boy who feels feminine is into more girly stuff than the majority of girls. It must be frightening for the parents and must leave them with many puzzling questions.
What will adding the possibility of pre-destined differences due to SSRI, or possibly other medications, taken in good faith, do to the parents I wonder – will it pacify their troubled minds or cause even further worries?
Even taking the pills out of the equation this seems to be a confusing matter and from what I have come across there are mermaids and gires::
BBC children’s chief says she is PROUD of their transgender show aimed at six-year-olds and claims they were only trying to ‘stimulate conversation’
I fully agree with having sites such as ‘mermaids’ or ‘gires’, having proper information is important for any group – it’s the introduction at such a young age that worries me about the CBBC programme. These sites do say that children ‘may grow out of this altogether’ or turn out to be gay, lesbian or bisexual in later life. If that is the case, why the rush to introduce it all to children from age 6? Why can’t we ‘adults’ be more ‘childlike’ and accept differences of behaviour, abilities etc.? Children accept each other as they each are – it is adults that interfere and try to place them all in different boxes. So what if a boy wears ‘girlish’ clothes or a boy loves makeup and a handbag? Left to role play quite naturally, as the website says, they may grow out of this tendency as they grow older. Let children be children I say.
However, if the truth is out there, that SSRIs or any other medication do interfere with the ‘completeness’ of the unborn, that is a matter that needs thorough investigation. We owe it to the generations that will follow us – they should have exactly the same rights to be born male/female as our generation. Humans are meant to be male or female for a purpose – letting poor quality restrictions, on producers of medications, upset that balance is a disservice to the human race.
Heather – my thoughts shall be with you at 9pm tonight.
Here in the USA there is already lawsuits for SSRI causing birth defects. I forget what kind, I want to say heart condition. I think there are warnings about taking anti-depressants while pregnant or breast feeding.
“The best way to nail down a possible contribution of serotonin reuptake inhibiting antidepressants to some cases of asexuality will require the Asexual community to get involved in exploring variations in asexuality. This is dangerous and maybe impossible if done in a manner that threatens the identity of members of the community. But it’s difficult to celebrate difference fully and to call for its recognition without being willing to explore wherever difference leads.”
I’ve participated in AVEN and found out that any mention of drugs, causes, etc. is forbidden, and can get you banned if you persist.
The community very firmly sees these “causality concerns” as identity threatening. After just having defined oneself as “asexual” and accepted it as “normal,” one does not want to hear that this condition is the same as a sex-changing (or sex-neutral) fish or frog, and caused by the chemicals in the water, or a drug your mother took.
My own asexuality is clearly iatrogenically induced – partly by the drugs, but also by surgeries and resulting difficulties, so I cannot place 100% blame the drugs. While I can trace this clearly, others who were “born this way” may not be so open to the possibility that it could have been different for them, “if only.”
I’d welcome more discussion – the AVEN community is remarkably open and socially gifted at exploring relationships, but exploration this possible causality remains forbidden, and is a warning/banning offence in the forums there. A researcher might be able to request participation by approaching the owners of the forum with a well-planned study, and invite members to participate – but – again – if ones newly acquired sexual identity could be threatened by this research, I don’t know how far it will get.
I applaud the AVEN community’s opening the gates to normalcy for so many diverse human expressions of social and sexual relationships.