Just when I thought that the over prescription of psychiatric drugs could not get any worse there comes a new study from the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry(January 2010) that shows the use of powerful antipsychotics in children between 2 and 5 years old doubled between 1999 and 2007. For 25% of these children the diagnosis was just ADHD!
Overall, by 2007, 1 in 70 children between 2 and 5 received some type of psychiatric drug during this time period. The types of drugs were antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, stimulants, or antidepressant.
What is most shocking is that less than half of the children receiving antipsychotics had a mental health assessment, a psychiatry visit, or a psychotherapy visit during the year they were on antipsychotic drugs, our most powerful and potentially dangerous psychiatric medications.
I find this unbelievable. I am not saying that these medications were not warranted in a percentage of these children, but does anyone seriously think that the number of 2-5 year olds with bipolar disease , schizophrenia or other very serious psychiatric disease doubled in those 8 years?
People should also know that there are absolutely no long term studies about the effect of antipsychotic medication in children, and no adequate studies at all about antipsychotic medication in preschoolers. We do know that even in the short term these medications can cause diabetes as well as other negative side-effects. To give these medications to preschoolers and then not even monitor them for a year is just terrible medicine.
This is also another example of treating common behavioral problems as psychiatric illness and using medication rather than good parenting and good nutrition as first line intervention.