Overmedicated and Undereducated

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Olivia Silveri
Persuasive essay
English 1510
April 13th, 2012

Overmedicated and Undereducated
Tardive Dyskinesia is defined as the involuntary loss of muscle control, most common around the mouth and/or neck. Also, TD is commonly referred to as a tick ranging from mild to severe cases. It is just one of many negative effects obtained when taking psychotropic or psychiatric medications for long term. Not until recently, these side effects occurred mostly in the elderly because they began taking these medications as fully matured adults. Now these potentially life threatening, life altering, drugs are being given to our children without the proper studies done to avoid or acknowledge the adverse effects on a growing body and mind. Not only are these drugs dangerous, but very often are replaceable with much safer and more efficient alternative therapies or cognitive behavior skills that can be taught to benefit a child in short as well as long term results. In my opinion, the most disturbing fact about overmedicating children is not just the appalling long list of unfavorable physical consequences on a growing body, but the psychological dependence and detrition that a child can develop while being administrated these drugs as well. Addictive behavior, drug dependence, and suicidal tendencies are only some of the possible psychological disadvantages. In general, psychotropic and psychiatric medications do not have the proper testing with children to support them, are very easily avoidable with alternate therapies, and have a stunningly large list of negative physical and psychological effects.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is one of the most advanced pharmaceutical systems in the world. For a new drug to pass the FDA must first approve multiple variables surrounding the new medication. For instance, the drug company must provide proper evidence to support that their products, both generic and name brand, work properly and have more positive outcomes than the potential bad ones. Than the FDA will than proceed to have a team of physicians, statisticians, chemists, pharmacologists, and other types of scientists review the outcome and data of the new drug. For the drug company to present said data to the FDA they must first test these drugs in a lab on animals to monitor the effects and then if all goes well, will perform a clinical trial on humans, more specifically adults. Once the drug has been FDA approved, and labeled properly it is released to the public. Unfortunately it has been overlooked for some time that these drugs would have unprecedented and irrevocable effects on a growing body. As Dr. Alan Stone (1), Professor of Law and Psychiatry at Harvard University, states, “David Fassler, MD, child and adolescent psychiatrist and clinical professor at the University Of Vermont College Of Medicine, was no doubt correct in his assertion that media coverage of drug studies may make some parents and physicians reluctant to treat a child's disorder with drugs that could very well be effective. However, public concern about prescribing psychiatric drugs for children is not just a matter of biased or incomplete media reporting; there are real scientific questions that have not been satisfactorily resolved. Most important, there is not enough data about the long-term side effects of increasingly prescribed atypical antipsychotics on the developing brains and bodies of children. Second, many psychotropic drugs and the accompanying dosages prescribed for children were found effective on the basis of expert consensus rather than by the gold standard of double-blind studies done with children. Third, diagnoses in children change over time, and even when clinicians carefully apply DSM-IV criteria to each case, their diagnosis of a disorder in a child is likely to be less accurate than their diagnosis in an adult.” This brings about the question: If the action of diagnosing and medicating an adult has...
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