Psycotropic Drugs Used in Children

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A report on the use of Psychotropic drugs used to control active children

Lauren L. Dewar

April 20, 2010

At eleven years of age, Thomas Edison was taken out of school because his teachers considered him difficult and he “could not be taught.” While in school Edison’s mind often wandered and his teacher was overheard calling him “addled.” Another labeled him as retarded. This ended his three months of official schooling. Because of this Thomas’s mother home schooled him and taught him math, reading, and writing. He then went on to become one of the greatest inventors of all times. In today’s “find a cure” society Thomas Edison would have most definitely been put on the now very popular medications Ritalin, Adderall, or Prozac. These are mind-altering psychotropic drugs used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Taking that into consideration, one might ask themselves that if Thomas had indeed been put on these medications, would he have ever been capable of experimenting and discovering his great inventions? After analyzing the data, this report will make it clear that children should not be prescribed such mind altering medications to control their activeness. It will be clear that these drugs have serious short and long-term side effects, sometimes even death. Through research it will also be clear that there is no diagnosis for ADHD and that the checklist doctors go by to diagnose ADHD is not enough proof of a disease that needs to be medicated. This report includes four sections: background information, my methodology, results of the study, and conclusion and recommendations. Background Information

For starters, there is no scientific basis for diagnosing ADHD. Often times it is the school counselor or social workers who are simply not equipped to make mental health assessments making the ADHD diagnoses (Williams). Simply, if a child is observed to be acting bored, distracted and/or boisterous in the classroom , he or she is often believed to be suffering from ADHD, as opposed to suffering from, say, childhood (Williams). Recent reports suggest a trend of increasing prevalence of psychotropic drug prescriptions among children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); however, reasons for increased use of medications is unclear (Guevara). Through my research I also found that children as young as the age of two are being placed on these medications. So now the “terrible two’s” is being replaced with “children with behavioral problems.” The rest of my report will focus on statistics, short and long-term effects, and alternatives. I will also go over the history of the use of drugs to control children’s behavior. A Brief History

“Werry (1999) noted that the use of drugs to control children’s behavior is an old practice. From the use of brandy to soothe infants to other sedating drugs such as barbiturates and opiates, children have been administered psychotropic agents as long as such agents have existed; however, research on such practices dates only to the early 20th century” (Ingersoll).

My methodology was mostly research though Academic Search Complete. I researched articles on statistics, procedures, diagnoses, and individual stories of real life people who have dealt with these drugs and ADHD. I also researched drug free alternatives to controlling ADHD or Hyperactivity in children.

Results of Study
1. Studies show that it is estimated that between 6 million and 8 million children have been prescribed Ritalin to treat the still scientifically unproven “mental illness” called ADHD. “This widespread doping in turn has increased concern that that school age children are being drugged to control their behavior” (O'Meara, Hyper-Drugging of Active Kids). I also found in my research that in 1985, there was an astonishing 500,000 cases. Not even five years later that number jumped to 7,000,000. “According to...
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