The Dangers of Medicating Children for Behavioral Disorders

Topics: Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Antidepressant Pages: 7 (2325 words) Published: April 16, 2006
The Dangers Of Medicating
Children With Behavioral Disorders
Developmental and behavioral issues in children are being reported in epidemic numbers and those numbers are growing. One in six children are diagnosed with a developmental or behavioral disorder. Parents are left with difficult decisions to make. Should they seek psychiatric help for their child? Should they allow their children to be placed on medication for the disorder? The disturbing part is that most parents are not prepared for issues such as these, so they usually just do what the doctors suggest for them to do. More parents need to be better educated on the types of medications that are being prescribed to their children, and the dangers that those medications may pose to the child's short and long-term health. The medical community remains unclear about the best way to diagnose and treat the symptoms of many of the behavioral disorders that children are diagnosed with today. Many believe that medicating the children is the best solution, but how much do parents actually know about these drugs that are used for such disorders? There are several major categories of psychotropic medications: stimulants, antidepressants, anti-anxiety agents, anti-psychotics, and mood stabilizers. The world market for drugs to treat mental, emotional and behavioral problems in children and adolescents is estimated at $13.4 billion in 2005 and is expected to rise at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 7.2% to $19 billion in 2010. Shalini Shahani (September 2005) Medicating Children 3 There are six stimulant medications such as Adderall (an amphetamine-dextroamphetamine combination), Concerta (methylphenidate), Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine), Dextrostat (dextroamphetamine), Ritalin (methylphenidate), and Cylert (pemoline), [which was restricted by the FDA because of its potential for serious side effects affecting the liver] that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the most common behavioral disorder of childhood. Children with ADHD exhibit such symptoms as short attention span, excessive activity, and impulsivity that cause substantial impairment in functioning. National Institute For Mental Health (NIMH) (1-27-2006). Ritalin is the number one prescription drug for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Ritalin also has a large list of side effects. Some of these side effects include nervousness, insomnia, nausea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, dizziness, palpitations, headaches, irregular heart rhythms, suicidal thoughts, worsening depression and psychic dependence - in short, addiction. In rare cases, the Ritalin may cause unusual black tarry stools, blood in urine or stools, blurred vision, or other changes in vision, convulsions (seizures), muscles cramps, pin point red spots on skin, or uncontrolled vocal outbursts. With long-term use the drug may cause mood swings, confusion, delusional behavior, hallucinations, and weight loss. Dixie Farley (July-August 1997) "Between the years of 1990-2000 over 569 children were hospitalized, 38 of them were life threatening hospitalizations, and 186 died from the use of ADD-ADHD Drugs!" Jon Bennett (2005).

Medicating Children 4
Ritalin has such tremendous potential for abuse that it is classified as a controlled substance by the drug enforcement agency. Since Ritalin is an amphetamine, it has the same effect as some street drugs like "speed". Ritalin's appeal to drug users and it's potential for abuse are so high that United States Judiciary Chair Henry Hyde (R-IL) recently filed a request with the General Accounting Office (GAO) to conduct an investigation of Ritalin Abuse in Public Schools. Class action lawsuits have been filed in Texas,...
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