According to this article, the amount of antipsychotic medication being prescribed to children has risen since 1992. The study examined prescription rates in both the United States and the UK, and found rates have gone up in both countries, thought doctors in the US prescribe more frequently. The research also determined that the newer antipsychotic medications are being prescribed more, despite questions regarding their efficacy in certain situations. From the article:
The researchers concluded that the overall prevalence of antipsychotics nearly doubled during 1992-2005. The increase in the USA during the same period was much greater. Despite lack of conclusive evidence that atypical antipsychotic drugs are superior to older conventional antipsychotics the prescribing of them has increased. The scientists say more research is needed to find out how efficacious and safe these drugs are for children and adolescents.
The article also suggests that kids in both the UK and US are being over-prescribed, but that kids in the US are receiving prescriptions at six times the rates as those in the UK. Some reasons offered for this disparity:
1. Prescription drug advertising to non-health care professionals is not allowed in the UK, while it is in the USA. Perhaps US consumers are more aware of available prescription drugs and influence their doctors' prescribing behavior.
2. The UK has a universal health care system which encourages doctors to keep prescription rates low.
3. UK doctors tend to be more conservative than their American counterparts about prescribing psychiatric drugs (quote from Associated Press, Wayne Ray, Vanderbilt University researcher).
Again, I don't want to sound like a broken record, because I do believe medications have their place. However, this sort of increase in medication prescriptions, especially antipsychotics, appears to be nothing more than everyone involved looking for an easy way out. Don't believe me? Well, according to the article, one of the two most commonly treated disorders with antipsychotic medications, in children, is Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder. Are you kidding me? Sure, they work, in the same way that a shotgun kills a fly, though a fly swatter would do. Talk about adults abdicating their responsibility. ADHD is a disorder that requires treatment, no doubt, but antipsychotics? This is why I've never been particularly interested in providing treatment to children - because treatment of children requires involvement by the adults, especially parents, and all to often all the grown-ups want is for you to "fix" their child. I want no part of that.