Saint John's Wort as a Treatment Option for Mild to Moderately Severe Adolescent Depression
AuthorJacob, Benjamin Isaac
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis paper discusses the herbal supplement Saint John's Wort, Hypericum perforatum, and its potential to treat mild to moderately severe depression in adolescents. Depression is a serious illness that affects millions of adolescents across the globe. Depression is characterized by symptoms of unhappiness, anhedonia, and low self-esteem. If left untreated it can lead to substance abuse disorders and even suicide. This paper discusses what is known of depression, focusing on an overview of the monoamine hypothesis of depression. Under the monoamine hypothesis, treatment for depressed adolescents often includes antidepressants. These antidepressants are primarily of the monoamine reuptake inhibitor class, which have been shown to carry caustic side effects when prescribed to adolescents, and even carry a black box label warning of an increased risk of suicide in adolescents. Hyperforin, the primary biologically active component of Hypericum, has been shown to inhibit monoamine reuptake in a manner similar to that of antidepressants, and is similarly effective. Additionally, Hypericum extracts are less expensive and significantly better tolerated. If taken under the supervision of a physician, Hypericum extract could provide an effective alternative treatment for adolescents suffering from moderately severe depression, without the side effects and risks associated with synthetic antidepressants.
Degree ProgramHonors College