Do antidepressants cause Autism when taken by pregnant women?


Antidepressant use in pregnancy may raise autism risk:

Did you hear that? That was the sound of the anti-vaccination and anti-anti-depressant crowd having a collective orgasm. The anti-vaxxers have a history of using the boogeyman of Autism but this will be the new rallying cry for those who spread fear about anti-depressants. But I digress.

Here’s the story. A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry states that pregnant women who take SSRIs may be twice as likely for their children to have Autism than mothers who don’t. Most of the fear and doubt crowd will cite this as concrete proof that antidepressants are inherently evil.

However, what I’m sure will be lost in the argument is this quote made by the lead author of the study…

The lead author of the study, Lisa Croen, Ph.D., the director of autism research at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, a large nonprofit health plan based in Oakland, emphasizes the preliminary nature of her team’s findings. “This is the first study of its kind to look at the association, and the findings have to be interpreted with a lot of caution,” she says. “We can’t detect causality from one study.”

What that means to the average Joe or Jane is that while the study showed that pregnant mothers who take meds are twice as likely to have an Autistic child there is no proof that the meds are causing the Autism.

It’s a shame really. I know parents personally who have genuinely Autistic children. If groups that use Autism as the ultimate fear weapon to continue to proliferate pretty soon people will believe that everything causes Autism which will lead people to engage in even more stupid behavior. Not only that but if the pendulum swings the other way than actual Autism research will be regarded as nonsense.

10 thoughts on “Do antidepressants cause Autism when taken by pregnant women?”

  1.  Gah, and of course the idjits won’t realize that there’s various degrees of autism and sometimes it’s a good thing to have someone around that thinks differently – it’s apt to be the odd one out that notices the cracks everyone doesn’t see.

    But then again, there are folks that are scared of strangers like them, that are not the same as them. *sigh* Ignorance is definitely one way to make sure the rigid edges of one’s perception of reality are a nice box. They tend to be scared of expanding one’s views…


  2. Could it be that neurological conditions are hereditary and that someone with bipolar disorder (or another inherited disorder causing depression) has a higher chance of having a child prone to Autism whether she takes meds or not? 


  3. I can’t even list all of the neurological conditions in my family (from my mom’s side) and my husband’s mom’s side.  In the family, we have bipolar, ADHD, dyslexia (and other learning disorders like it that I can never remember), Asperger’s Syndrome (at least 4 of us have that, possibly 5).. I could go on.  I still don’t know what my nephew has but you can tell he does have some sensory issues.  But my point is that when one of my kids seems to have some issue, the first thing I think is ‘does he have dyslexia?’ or any number of things.  I don’t immediately think he’s been damaged by medicines and shots.  Two of my kids do have more of a reaction to them, but the one who is the most sensitive to the shots is NOT the one with Asperger’s.  Many believe that kids who are more prone to it, such as kids who have a mitochondrial disorder, may have a reaction to the shot that triggers the Autism?  That doesn’t sound completely whacky, at least. Although no one in our entire family has (regular) Autism.  I know that Asperger’s technically IS Autism, but no one in the family has it other than those with Asperger’s.
    Studies like this kind-of tick me off when they put out a report with no real conclusive findings, though.

    Google mitochondrial disorders if you’re curious.  It’s too complex to explain. 


  4. Hmm maybe future studies will clarify that this individual study is missing the important part of the story.  The mums could have something chemical and/or genetic wrong that can directly cause or lead to depression, and /that/ is what is, in their children, expressing as autism of various stripes after being paired up with the dad’s genes.  

    So the anti-depressants could very well be not a true part of the equation at all, just a by product.


    1. blog/blɔg, blɒg/ Show Spelled [blawg, blog]  a Web site containing the writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other Web sites.


  5. I’m sorry, even if there is no solid evidence conclusive from this study it makes sense people: antidepressants ARE CHEMICALS- exposing your developing child to these can not be helpful. The opposite of helpful is harmful. Just because you can’t link the use to this disease doesn’t mean it can’t be a cause. What happened to common sense?


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