Kids Are Getting Too Many Antipsychotics

They're not nearly as safe as you think.

Kids Are Getting Too Many Antipsychotics

They’re not nearly as safe as you think.

-Jane Farrell

little boy receiving a pill

If you’ve ever thought of medicating your child because he’s seemingly out of control, the best thing to do is to take him to a psychiatrist who can decide what drugs he needs – or if he needs a drug at all.

According to a Columbia University study cited by The New York Times, antipsychotic prescriptions for privately insured children between the ages of 2 and 5 had doubled between 2000 and 2007. And what’s of equal concern, only 40 percent of those children had gotten a proper evaluation of whether they needed the drugs.

Read Even Celeb Moms Get the Baby Blues

Overall, more than 500,000 children and teenagers are now taking antipsychotic drugs, according to a report by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

Doctors worry that the effects of the drugs can damage childrens’ mental and physical health. Obesity and diabetes are just two of the possible side effects of drugs like Risperdal, Seroquel and Abilify.

Mary Margaret Gleason, M.D., of Tulane University, an expert in the field of psychopharmacology treatment in children, told the Times that after an adequate evaluation (usually by a psychiatrist), the child needs therapy as well as medicine.

“Families sometimes feel the need for a quick fix,” Dr. Gleason said. “That’s often the prescription pad. But I’m concerned that when a child sees someone who prescribes but doesn’t do therapy, they’re closing the door that can make longer-lasting change.” (The New York Times)

Jane Farrell is a senior editor at BettyConfidential.

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