The Number of Children Taking Harmful Drugs Doubles

Disturbingly and oddly enough film maker Louis Theroux recently did a television show for Great British audiences on America’s Medicated Children. Ironically, this over drugging trend hasn’t caught on so much in Britain as it has in the states. One wonders how entertaining the drugging of children here must be for inhabitants over there.

He doesn’t seem to be very critical in his reportage of the phenomenon. One wonders whether this trend could eventually prove more catching among Brits given this sort of exposure. Perhaps they want to export the over diagnosis of childhood ‘mental disorders’, and the over prescription of psychiatric drugs. I’m sure someone might be able to make a bundle preying on children and their families in the same fashion that they are preyed on in the USA in the UK if they were clever about it.

On a more serious note, an American writer, Leigh Donaldson, who is doing a series of investigative pieces for The Portland Press Herald, has done a story on the alarming rise of children in America taking psychiatric drugs, Psychiatric drugging of American children is cause for alarm.

Talk about dramatic; doubling in a period of 8 years or so I would call quite some incline!

According to a 2010 study of data on more than a million children reported by American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s journal, the use of powerful anti-psychotics with privately insured U.S. children, ages 2 through 5, doubled between 1999 and 2007.

These drugs cause metabolic health problems, movement disorders, and they have been known to damage the brain. They are not the sort of thing you should be feeding to children, or adults for that matter, if you can help it.

In the 2007 study, the most common diagnoses of anti-psychotic treated children were pervasive developmental disorder or mental retardation (28.2 percent), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (23.7 percent) and disruptive behavior disorder (12.9 percent).

All of the diagnoses listed above are for ‘off label’ or illegal and unapproved uses of these drugs. These psychiatric drugs are typically characterized as treatments for ‘psychosis’.

Poor families receive the brunt of this over drugging of children.

Just as tragic is the 2009 revelation in federally funded research that children covered by Medicaid were prescribed anti-psychotics at a rate four times higher than children with private insurance.

The data indicated that more than 4 percent of children in Medicaid fee-for-service programs received anti-psychotics, compared to less than 1 percent of privately insured youth. Poorer kids are receiving more of these drugs than richer ones.

Isn’t it curious that the ‘schizophrenic’ gene should be more prevalent in poor communities than in richer ones? I haven’t heard it suggested that poverty, too, is caused by bad genes, the way it is assumed that what are referred to as ‘mental illnesses’ are caused by bad genes, but I imagine that that suggestion has got to be on its way.

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5 Responses

  1. Could be that many parents are threatened with having their kids taken from them if they’re not drugged.

    • I know that happens in many cases where children are labeled ADHD. I’m not sure how true that might be in cases where children are labeled ‘schizophrenic’ or ‘bipolar’. Given that those labels are considered more severe, yes, the school systems and the child welfare systems might have a big say in it.

      When it comes to the over drugging of foster children, part of the issue in Florida was that the parents or a doctor were supposed to give consent, but they were bypassed by the mental health workers who essientially ignored the law. Gabriel Myers bill, named after the kid who commited suicide in ’09, was proposed to correct this situation, but that bill was quashed by the Florida House of Representatives. As far as I know, this means that mental health workers won’t have to follow the law as enacted in 2005 because it wasn’t being enforced. So we’re talking no accountability until another kid turns up dead, and the state legislators feel they have to do something about the situation…again.

      I’m all for parents having more of a say as to whether their children take psychiatric drugs or not. We had a Child Medication Act in Congress that was to give parents that right, but this Act has never made it very far, due to the opposition of certain big name politicians like the late Ted Kennedy. I’ve also seen similar Bills put forth in state legislatures. I don’t think its a good idea to have the government take children away from their natural parents, and I definitely don’t think its a good idea for the government to do so unnecessarily over relatively minor matters.

  2. It still blows me away that they attempt to and do diagnose children less than say 12 yo with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. I suspect that part of the reason they do this is to force the assumption of the validity of the diagnoses they make on young adults as well as generate new customers. A sort of sleight of hand manouver.

    They say, “We’ve successfully diagnosed your 16 yo as schizophrenic”. Everybody nods. “OK, what was she like as a young child?”

    The dubious descriptions given by the grateful parents and other impartial observers are compiled in a DSM like way and used to diagnose schizophrenia in infants.

    I could be wrong. The modern tech savvy infant might be perfectly capable of displaying and reporting symptoms of schizophrenia on their own. Being controlled by Wii gamepads for example.

    • When the terrible twos become a “mental illness” you know someone’s got their head screwed on backwards. We have children under the age of 2 being prescribed powerful psychiatric drugs. Ridiculous. You can’t expect very young children to act like adults. Adults must consider that children will be children before they bear children. Some people expect child rearing to be a walk in the park, and there is so much more to it than that. Child rearing is a full time job. Children under the age of 12 are always going to require special consideration. The person who can’t give this special consideration should not be taking care of a child. Children need adults to protect them. One of the things children need adults to protect them from is the mental health/illness system.

      Diagnosing a child can become a way of setting a person on a career mental patient path, and I think you’ve got to think long and hard before you encourage that sort of thing. Recovery, after all, is often a matter of making the decision not to pursue a career mental patient path. Resisting such a career path becomes harder the longer the amount of time a person has spent on it. Pursuing another career path would mean learning, and once your puppy is an old dog, that’s not such an easy thing to do.

      This world demands more protection, given the danger of child abductions, and the world has more diversions, video games and such, but children are still children. Being a child shouldn’t be used as an excuse to psychiatrically label, chemically torture, and physically abuse a child.

  3. The Number of Children Taking Harmful Drugs Doubles « Lunatic Fringe…

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