Very troubled children are being given very powerful antipsychotic rugs, often prescribed “off label,” with no evidence of effectiveness, writes Judith Warner in her New York Times blog.
. . . the “atypical” antipsychotic Risperdal, a tranquilizing whopper of a drug with serious, sometimes deadly side effects, is now being widely prescribed to children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
This despite the fact that Risperdal, which is used in children mostly to treat bipolar disorder, isn’t approved for A.D.H.D., and apparently doesn’t work for treating it at all.
I think that what’s happening is that children with big problems are being given big, bad drugs because no one really knows what to do with them. . . . (More children are) “chronically irritable, extremely aggressive, prone to explosive outbursts and out-of-control rages.”
Diagnoses of bipolar disorders have spiked. But is that the problem? Some say it’s “extreme A.D.H.D.” or Oppositional Defiant Disorder or “severe mood dysregulation” or . . . Well, some blame very bad parenting. There’s no consensus on what’s wrong and no data on what kind of medication helps.