Drugging Kids with Legal Medications
The number of children who have been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the United States has climbed at an astonishing rate over a relatively short time span.
In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control released data revealing that 11 percent of American schoolchildren had been diagnosed with ADHD, which amounts to 6.4 million children between the ages of four and seventeen—a 16 percent increase since 2007 and a 42 percent increase since 2003.
Boys are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed as girls are, by 15.1 percent to 6.7 percent comparatively. By high school, twenty per cent of boys have been diagnosed with ADHD.
It is more than likely that a stimulant will be prescribed such as the well-known brand name drugs Ritalin, Adderall, Vyvanse and Concerta. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies these stimulants as Schedule II drugs, defined as having a high potential for abuse and addiction. Schedule II drugs also include cocaine, methamphetamine, Demerol, and OxyContin.
Associated with new or worse aggressive behavior or hostility, these drugs can cause new psychotic symptoms such as hearing voices, believing things that are not true or new manic symptoms. One study reported fears of being harmed and thoughts of suicide.
A huge concern is that among the 6.4 million diagnoses are a significant percentage of boys who are swallowing pills every day for a disorder they do not have. More parents and professionals have realized that these powerful drugs are often given simply because it has become a default method for dealing with a high energy or difficult child. If you have a son, there is an alarming probability that this has happened or will happen to your child. Falsely diagnosing a psychiatric disorder in a boy’s developing brain is a terrifying prospect.
There are better solutions than drugging children for mental health or social problems. Mindfulness, cognitive behavior training, dietary intervention, environment changes and activity modification can be highly successful in controlling symptoms.
Never stop prescription drugs without advice from a healthcare professional before discontinuing use. Consider talking to a specialist in alternative therapies about appropriate treatments and more information if your child is or has been diagnosed with ADHD and the physician’s first line of treatment is medication.