This past summer, my friends and I were talking about medications that doctors prescribe us and how it can be overwhelming with the amount and how easily it is prescribed to ourselves, family members and other people we know. Then one of my friends was telling me about how her little brother has been prescribed dozens of medications for his ADHD and other disorders before he even turned 10. I thought that this was insane and questioned why there wasn’t any other option or type of therapy for these children that didn’t involve the use of so many drugs. Then I talked about this issue with my mother who works in a school district as the head of a department that works with children who have mental disorders such as ADHD, bipolar disorder, etc. After discussing it with her I came to realize that this very topic that bothered me is actually a controversial topic amongst many doctors, parents, and others. After thinking long and hard about what to write for my last blog post for this period, I thought that this would make an interesting one.
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Today, it seems as if every other child is on some sort of medication to aid them in acting in a more “normal” manner. The number of children that are diagnosed with a mental disorder and those on a psychiatric drug has certainly increased and many people don’t know why this is. Many teachers and/or parents notice seemingly abnormal behavior in their children and turn to doctors for help. Many times these doctors diagnose the children with medication without guarantee that it will solve the child’s problem. When the medication doesn’t work, doctors usually prescribe 1 2, 3, or more drugs trying to fix the problem.
What has caused a lot of controversy is the question, at ages 4 or 5 is this really the right thing to do? Was the diagnosis even correct in the first place? Where is the therapy before trying countless medications? In my opinion, the ridiculous increase in the medicating of children is due to the over diagnosing and misdiagnosing of children. Everyone can have their opinion on this matter, but it all comes down to the doctor’s diagnosis and the parents decision on whether to medicate their child or not.
In this article it suggests that behavioral therapy may cost more resources and time, however, the results can last longer than just sticking a child on a drug. It also states that we may not always know if a child is displaying behaviors that link to ADHD, or rather just a hyper child who likes to move around a lot. Many times, if the child has a few symptoms of the disorder, doctors will suggest a drug to parents saying that will fix the problem instantly. This article raises question that percentage of the kids that are diagnosed with behavioral disorders may be misdiagnosed and are on unnecessary medication. We do not know the long term effects of putting a child who apparently has ADHD or bipolar disorder at 2 years old on 3-4 medications. These children’s brains are not even close to fully developed and it makes me wonder why we are not a little more cautious about this situation.
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As there are many people and examples that support my position, I am not a scientist, nor am I a doctor. There are many people who disagree with my view and for good reason. By and large, doctors are not terrible people who are always wrong. I believe that there are children that need medication to help them behave normally, however, I do not believe that children should receive medication until their teenage years unless the problem is severely out of control. I also think that children should not be diagnosed so easily and to the degree that they are. Many children grow out of, or rather learn to control their behaviors as they grow into adulthood. In my opinion, it would be a good idea to start this process at a young age with psychotherapy and working closely with the child at school and home. This would give the child a chance to develop, instead of shoving countless drugs down their throats. This issue only begs the question, how many people will be put on psychiatric drugs 20 years from now?