Children and Teens are Taking More Antipsychotics Than Ever Before

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Photography by NHOPHOTOS; Chicago, IL

by Maria Lloyd

Psychiatrists are prescribing antipsychotic medications to nearly one-in-three visits with youth, according to a recent study.  The drugs are not only being prescribed for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but also for commonly diagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The medications come with powerful side effects, according to mental health experts. Furthermore, mental experts are saying the success for treating the disorder for which the medication has been prescribed has yet to be proven.

Dr. Mark Olfson, an author and professor of clinical psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University , finds the surge in prescription drugs for youth to be peculiar, “The growth in antipsychotic treatment of children — roughly eight-fold in 17 years — is especially impressive. Practice has overstepped research. These rapidly rising rates of antipsychotic treatment in young people should give physicians pause.

Although I am an advocate of identifying and treating mental disorders in children and adults, the surge in prescription drugs for children should be carefully observed, especially since their effectiveness has yet to be proven. I can vividly recall a plethora of my high school peers taking anti-depressent medication each time they faced a challenging day. Life is full of challenges, so if you’re not able to conquer them in a way that is healthy and teachable in your youth, suicide may prevail as the viable solution to “escape” from the challenge as you grow older. While the aforementioned example probably accounts for a very small percentage of unhealthy practices of  prescription medication among the youth, there are still very valid reasons to be concerned about the growth in these prescriptions to children.

Would you allow your children to take antipsychotics? Why or why not? 

1 Comment

  1. Soul Sista

    August 12, 2012 at 9:30 am

    This article doesn’t mention the disproportionate amount of black males as young as 4 years olds that are medicated and over-medicated. Most of these children are not psychotic, there behaviors are a result of the low or no social/economic homes that they reside in. With children…change the environment change the behavior.

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