Anti-psychotics for kids

Anti-psychotic drugs are being prescribed to children — sometimes very young children — with attention deficit disorder, behavior disorders and autism. Nobody knows the long-term effects. From the St. Pete Times:

The ever-increasing number of kids who come through the doors of pediatrician Esther Gonzalez’s office lead chaotic lives. There’s more divorce and more drug use, more domestic violence and physical and sexual abuse. Working parents are overwhelmed.

“Some parents are so stressed out, they come in seeking a pill,” Gonzalez said. It is easy to medicate kids; “it is very hard to change environment.”

At her practice in Crystal River, she starts with a thorough screening. A child might need occupational, physical or speech therapy. Sometimes, it takes psychiatric drugs.

Despite her concerns about prescribing such medications, Gonzalez has no doubt they have saved many a child from juvenile detention.

Not prescribing drugs to a child who needs them, she said, “it’s like seeing someone dying and not giving them CPR.”

It’s easy for people who’ve raised easy children to believe better parenting is the answer. In some cases, that’s true. But there are kids who are very disturbed at very young ages. What do you do when your six-year-old goes wild with a steak knife?

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  1. As a teacher and parent of a somewhat out of control 4-year-old, I am concerned with his emotional well-being, and I’m reluctant to have him medicated. It’s certainly a difficult decision. Hopefully, he’ll settle down by kindergarten, and we won’t have to consider any kind of drugs.

  2. The majority of the time its boys who get these drugs. Once upon a time there was plenty of opportunities for boys to work off their rambunctious, but today it seems like we shelter our boys and try and emasculate them. Organized little league isn’t a substitute for hunting and camping etc…

    Having said that, I know some kids who have been helped immensely by modern anti-psychotics.

  3. Richard Nieporent says:

    Remember kids, don’t do drugs!

    More and more, doctors are prescribing powerful anti-psychotic drugs to children.

    Never mind.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    The sad thing is in the vast majority of cases there is nothing wrong with the child. Yes, most of the kids being drugged are boys. parents need to change the kids diet, take away video games, allow the boys to wiggle or spread out if needed and get on with the day. Teachers need to stoop rushing to judgement about non-existant cases of ADHD (most of the diagnosis are just plain wrong! Big pharma is making money from people’s stupidity, guilibility and in ability to let kids be kids or boys be boys.)

    Doctors need to stop listening to big pharma and remember what they learned in medical school. We know a bad diet does bad things to kids as do video games.

    The kids need recess and p.e. where they can burn off excess energy, too, during the day.

  5. Mrs. Davis says:

    Big ed makes money from drugs, too. The boy qualifies for special ed and the school gets a bigger per diem from the state. Funny how the rate stabilizes once the max for special ed funding is reached.

  6. Children of the poor and working families will end up on meds more often than middle class kids whose parents are willing and able to make the changes to accomodate their child. Perhaps with nationalized health care the number of children being medicated will sky rocket.

  7. Cardinal Fang says:

    I’m pretty sure Myrtle has it backwards. The middle class kids have parents who, typically, will try anything so that their children will succeed in school. It’s the working class kids who fall through the cracks; they don’t get meds, and they often don’t get anything else to keep them from school failure.

    It’s the middle class schools where we hear stories of 10, 20 or 40 percent of boys being medicated for ADHD.

  8. Rory:

    Elizabeth wrote:

    The sad thing is in the vast majority of cases there is nothing wrong with the child.

    Can you prove this assertion? In my experience, kids are on the whole under-treated in three ways: improvements in parenting skills; behavior management plans; medication when the previous fail to effect significant improvement.

    For some first-person writing on kids who have benefited from drug therapy, I’d recommend the blogs Soapy Water and Austism Vox.

    Soapy Water:

    Autism Vox: