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New Research Suggests Acne, Not Accutane, Causes Depression in Teens

Acne, Not Accutane, May Cause Depression

Anyone who's ever had acne knows very well just how terrible it can make you feel about yourself, but isotretinoin (commonly known as now-defunct Accutane) has long received the blame when people taking it become depressed or commit suicide. Now, researchers from the University of Oslo have conducted a study that suggests severe acne itself, not acne medication, may be the culprit when teens display suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms.

Previous studies have shown that acne increases stress and anxiety, so this isn't surprising. What makes the study a big deal is that it challenges long-held beliefs about how isotretinoin affects its users. Did you ever take isotretinoin, and would you be less scared to try it now given this new evidence?

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Join The Conversation
amandachalynn amandachalynn 6 years
Just to add to fauxcats, most good derms will tell you about the depressive side effects, and if you have a history of depression or anxiety they will be checking up on you at every appointment. A good thing to do is tell your parent or whoever is close to you about the risks so they can also look out for any behavior changes.
lexycon lexycon 6 years
i took accutane when i was 13, back in 1998, and it did wonders. i'd had pretty serious acne for years already by that point, and nothing else seemed to do the trick - store-bought remedies failed, retin a didn't work, and proactiv actually caused me to break out worse due to an adverse reaction. accutane was the drug of last resort, and my dermatologist was sure to let me know that it was serious stuff, but it was a surefire way to knock out the acne for good. it was a 3-month course of treatment, and i had to go in for monthly blood tests to check my lipid levels and verify that i wasn't pregnant (i was the opposite of sexually active then, but they were just covering their bases since accutane could cause devastating birth defects). it was absolutely worth it for me, though, because my acne vanished after the 3 months. i had no adverse reactions, and like others have mentioned, it actually saved me from feeling depressed about my appearance. i'm glad i took it and i would recommend it to others who've exhausted their options, as long as they understand the risks.
amandachalynn amandachalynn 6 years
I didn't take it as a teen, but I was on Accutane 2 years ago. After three weeks on it I noticed I was talking to strangers in grocery stores, being more outgoing with patients at work, and a number of social things I never really did before. I spent 11 years being depressed because nothing worked. Birth control, antibiotics, retin-a, none had any effect whatsoever. Two years later my skin still looks great. I'm 33 weeks pregnant and haven't even had one breakout. As someone who's taken it, the time and expense are well worth it.
Natalie-Love Natalie-Love 6 years
I never took accutane, but at 14, my doctor suggested the pill to help with my moderate acne & irregular periods. It helped a lot, and I went through my teen years known as the one with the flawless skin. I ended up after a few years, using the pill as a contraceptive anyway, so it really is two birds with one strike. But for some hormones only make the situation worse, and in that case, I can see how accutane would be a lifesaver. Acne sucks, especially if you're a teen girl with enough things to worry about!
elramos elramos 6 years
I never took isotretinoin when I had severe acne as a teen, but I can agree with the theory that acne causes depression. My acne pushed me to the point where I couldn't look at myself in the mirror. I literally began to hate my own face. I never thought about suicide because of it, but I can see how less stable people could.
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