Compared to Dutch and German children, American children are three times more likely to be prescribed psychotropic medications such as Ritalin and Prozac for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and bipolar disease, concludes a study published in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health. Researchers found 6.7 percent of U.S. children were taking psychotropic drugs, compared with 2.9 percent in the Netherlands and 2 percent in Germany. In addition, U.S. children were 1.5 to 2.2 times likelier to use antipsychotic drugs.
There are more child psychiatrists per capita in the U.S. than in Europe and more American children are diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
“Direct-to-consumer drug advertising, which is common in the U.S., is also likely to account for some of the differences. The increased use of medication in the U.S. also reflects the individualist and activist therapeutic mentality of U.S. medical culture,” the researchers concluded.
Of course, it’s possible that Dutch and German children are underdiagnosed and undermedicated, but it seems more likely that U.S. children are being drugged without good cause.