The use of powerful drugs to treat younger and younger patients has gone far beyond disturbing.
The Portland Press Herald
By Leigh Donaldson
May 3, 2010
The age of children being medicated with prescription psychiatric drugs is getting younger and more widespread every year.
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.
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).
Fewer than half of drug-treated children received a mental health assessment, a psychotherapy visit, or a visit with a psychiatrist, during the year of anti-psychotic drug use.
“Anti-psychotics, which are being widely and irresponsibly prescribed for American children — mostly as chemical restraints — are shown to be causing irreparable harm.” Vera Hassner Sharav, president of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, warns. She further asserts that long-term use of these drugs can have hazardous effects on cardiovascular and metabolic systems.
Dr. Peter Breggin, founder of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology and author of “Medication Madness,” characterizes anti-depressants, stimulants, mood stabilizers and anti-psychotic substances as bathing the brains of growing children with agents that threaten the normal development of the brain.
Highlighting the controversial nature of medicating American children is the recent death of Rebecca Riley, a 4-year-old Boston girl diagnosed with ADHD and pediatric bipolar disorder at 28 months of age.
According to a medical examiner, she died from the effects of a combination of Clonidine, a blood pressure medication prescribed for ADHD, Depakote, an anti-seizure and a mood stabilizer for her bipolar disorder, as well as a cough suppressant and an antihistamine.