A recent study raised an interesting question, “What effect does an antidepressant have on a mother’s relationship with her children?” The article published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found an interesting difference among medications and the effect they have on how a mother relates to her children. Mothers getting escitalopram (Lexapro) or bupropion (Wellbutrin) or both were treated over 12 weeks. Mothers and children were assessed differently. During that time there was equal antidepressant response across med choices. There was, however, a significant difference in the escitalopram group in the mothers’ ability to listen and talk with their children. It was speculated that this was due to mother’s with high negative affectivity–ones with more irritable and anxious depression responded better with escitalopram. This was not statistically significant but appeared to be trending this way.
Importance of Adjusting Depression Treatment to Specific Symptoms
Adjusting treatment to specific symptoms is critical. Meds have variations in affecting sleep, energy, appetite, cognition and others. Perhaps escitalopram allows depressed moms to bond better with their children than bupropion does. We often focus on the individual with depression and pay little attention to the effects treatment has those around them. The lasting impact attachment and bonding has on the relationship between mother and child can be profound. It is fascinating to see what insight research like this can offer into those dynamics.