Too Many Children Being Prescribed Psych Meds


It is no surprise that pharmaceuticals such as psychiatric drugs are overly prescribed in the United States. Almost everyone I know has been on one at some point or another in their life. However, too many children are being prescribed psychiatric meds and this is a problem.


Number of children on psychiatric drugs in the United States breakdown:

0-1 Years 274,804
2-3 Years 370,778
4-5 Years 500,948

6-12 Years 4,130,340
13-17 Years 3,617,593

Number of children on ADHD medication breakdown: 

0-1 Years 1,422
2-3 Years 10,413
4-5 Years 181,023

6-12 Years 2,723,126
13-17 Years 1,775,896

Number of children on antidepressants breakdown: 

0-1 Years 26,406
2-3 Years 46,102
4-5 Years 45,822

6-12 Years 686,950
13-17 Years 1,444,422

Number of children on antipsychotics breakdown: 

0-1 Years 654
2-3 Years 3,760
4-5 Years 24,363

6-12 Years 359,882
13-17 Years 490,272

Number of children on anti-anxiety meds breakdown: 

0-1 Years 227,132
2-3 Years 282,759
4-5 Years 247,754

6-12 Years 790,149
13-17 Years 650,273


The IMS Health database reports that psychotic drugs like Risperdal and Seroquel were prescribed to nearly 20,000 children under the age of two and that 274,804 infants under one year of age are being put on psychotic drugs like Prozac and Zoloft. For all toddlers less than five years old, over 1 million and counting are now on these brain-damaging drugs

The rates in which these drugs are being prescribed to young children are accelerating, too. In fact, the rate at which these drugs are prescribed in toddlers has jumped over 50 percent in just one year! Experts say these drugs are being used to alleviate temper tantrums, or to try and reverse inhibited, nonverbal or lethargic behavior.

“I think you simply cannot make anything close to a diagnosis of these types of disorders in children of that age,” said Dr. Ed Tronick, a professor of developmental and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts Boston. “There’s this very narrow range of what people think the prototype child should look like. Deviations from that lead them to seek out interventions like these. I think it’s just nuts.”

Brain development from infancy through adolescence is rapid and constant and the sad truth is, is that no one really knows what drugs like this are doing during this crucial time period, especially the effects it will have in the long-term. If no one knows what the long-term effects are then why are these drugs being so easily prescribed to children by physicians? It’s indeed a sad game of Russian roulette being played at the cost of our children.


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