Babies and Prozac? Really? Are psychiatric meds now being given to infants and toddlers in numbers bigger than you could have ever imagined?
Unfortunately, according to IMS Data from 2013, more than 274,000 infants and 370,000 toddlers in the US were given anti-anxiety and antidepressant meds like Prozac and Xanax.
Moreover, to make things worse, the report also discovered more than 1,400 infants taking ADHD meds.
Why Are Infants Being Given these Meds?
The prescribing of potent antipsychotics to infants and young children has been on the rise and office visits for bipolar in children have increased 40-fold in the last decade in the US.
The toddlers from the welfare system and from homes are very prone to receiving meds for their attitude.
But, most of the use of these drugs in children isn’t allowed, which poses a major concern for their safety. According to a 2013 study with more than 40,000 children, antipsychotic meds tripled the chance for diabetes.
Taking into account this data, one cannot but question if psychiatric diagnosis at a very young age is actually reliable and why so many children are given drugs outside guidelines.
And, we need to know if this is the most humane method to manage the changes of attitude in children.
Despite effective drug-free attitude therapy for preschoolers, the trend of ‘pill for every temper tantrum’ seems to continue. Hence, there’s need for more resilience building investments. This is a major issue, but as Frederick Douglass once said, ‘It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men’.
A report from CDC from 2015 concluded that at least 10,000 children at the age of 2 or 3 were diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed meds like Adderall outside of the guidelines put forward by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
For Dr. Ed Tronic, a professor of developmental and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, one can’t simply make anything close to a diagnosis of these disorders in such young children.
What Could Be the Cause of the Overmedication of Young Children?
A lot of experts believe that the increase in use of psychotropics in children is a result of the lack of child psychiatrics in the US and a lot of them having long lists of waiting and high costs than that of the family’s pediatrician.
But, these pediatricians have scarce training in child psychiatry, yet are asked to practice it.
Tronick believes that there are other ways to work with this, rather than popping pills in the child’s mouth- it needs to be discovered what’s causing fear and withdrawal in the child, what’s stressing the parent, etc. However, this requires investments, a lot of them.