According to the Sydney Morning Herald a psychiatry professor at the University of Adeliade, Jon Jureidini, is raising the issue of the increased use of psychiatric drugs on children in Australia. The article in question bears the heading, Concern at psychiatric drugs used on children.
This article points out that after the addition of black box warning labels to anti-depressant bottles in the USA there was a 58 % drop in the use of those drugs on children in that country.
Yet between 2007 and 2011 in Australia antidepressant prescriptions increased from nearly 22 prescriptions per 1000 children aged below 16 to nearly 27, data provided to the Herald by the Department of Human Services under freedom of information laws shows.
The use of antidepressant drugs on children in Australia is increasing while the use of neuroleptic drugs on children has doubled in little more than 5 years time.
Last year there were about 14 antipsychotic prescriptions for every 1000 children, compared with seven in 2007.
Professor Jureidini points out that this increased usage has occurred despite the fact that the rate of psychosis among children has not increased so significantly. He offers a prescription of his own.
Professor Jureidini said more monitoring of the drugs and their side effects was needed, along with training for GPs on non-pharmacological treatments.
I’d say that the situation of Australian represents an object lesson that doctors and mental health professionals in other countries would do well to learn from.
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