Anti-psychotic drugs and children
Ed Thomas – OneNewsNow – 5/15/2008 6:00:00 AM
Similar U.K. and U.S. studies on the use of anti-psychotics on children are raising questions about whether youth from both countries are being over-treated.
The U.K. study, published in the medical journal Pediatrics, showed a 75 percent increase in the amount of children being prescribed anti-psychotics over a 13-year span. In a similar American study using statistics from 1996-2001, the amount of children prescribed anti-psychotics increased 95 percent.
Anti-psychotic drugs are used to treat autism, hyperactivity, and other behavior disorders, but experts have suggested the drugs are being overused in both countries. And they have raised warning flags over side effects, which include weight gain, irritability, and even heart trouble.
Christian psychiatrist Dr. Karl Benzio of the Lighthouse Network says there is a middle ground that recognizes both realities — namely that anti-psychotics have vastly improved in effectiveness since the late 1980s, and that their use is less restricted in the U.S. whereas the U.K.’s universal healthcare system limits their use.
Benzio argues that there are appropriate circumstances to prescribe these types of drugs to children. But “on the flip side,” he says, “you have situations where just because a person or a kid in second grade pushes another kid on the playground, they’re labeled with a behavioral problem and they’re put on a medication.”
Because the long-term effects of the newer medications on children are not completely known, Benzio believes prescriptions should be monitored and should not be administered prematurely. But he believes there are definite benefits toward optimizing patients’ lives as God intended.