View Full Version : U.S. Kids Might Not Be Over-Medicated After All


starry
02-27-13, 08:46 AM
A large new study challenges the notion that too many U.S. teens with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other mental health conditions are prescribed psychiatric drugs, when in fact only 14 percent of such adolescents receive them.


http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/12/03/us-kids-might-not-be-over-medicated-after-all

arxonius
07-12-13, 12:17 AM
A large new study challenges the notion that too many U.S. teens with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other mental health conditions are prescribed psychiatric drugs, when in fact only 14 percent of such adolescents receive them.


http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/12/03/us-kids-might-not-be-over-medicated-after-all


So,basicaly,4% are said to have it,but only about a half of a percent are medicated for it. Im going to make a pretty bold assumption here,but I think it sounds reasonable. Those children in the 0.5% probably include some of the children who are exhibiting the worst symptoms. Im also going to suggest that its quite possible that the 3.5% or whatever it is,that dont receive medication are probably going to include a large percentage of the children who are misdiagnosed.

I think its quite reasonable that the children who do not have adhd,will respond on average better to non-drug treatments in general,most especially if you consider that many of them will be treated for comorbid conditions. In fact,it seems to me from anecdotal evidence that children that dont respond to drugs often end up with alternative non pharmaceutical treatments ,and at least in some case,it works. Imagine a child is diagnosed with ADHD and depression. Ive been told that depression,percentage wise responds as well to behavioral therapy as it does to drugs (although the groups that respond to each are not one and the same). If you have a child with severe depression problems,who is at the bottom end of normal for ADHD traits,the depression,just like it can be hard to determine if the depression is caused by ADHD,it can be difficult to determine if the inattentiveness,the outbursts in class,the fights at school,and the lack of motivation is caused by depression or ADHD. That child may well be helped by non drug interventions,and if that's the case,then actually,its a very good thing. In short,many parents may try something other than drugs,either when drugs dont work (I know someone who did this with his son after the drugs they put him on just made him zone out so bad he remembers nothing of a year of school. They tried other treatments which seemed to work,and he seems to have control of his ADHD-PI symptoms he was diagnosed with. Some years later,he was diagnosed with Torretts,they put him on medication for that,and it helped a lot. I dont question that he has ADHD symptoms,but I do question whether he has the same sort of disorder that I have,as talking to him (hes an adult now) his symptoms are 100% qualitatively different than mine,including that the drugs don't work for him like they do for me. He literally takes Ritalin or Adderall and falls asleep.

Conversely the child with a parent that does not want to use drugs,and tries other interventions first,should those simply not work,and if the symptoms are bad enough, will quite possibly end up trying the drugs,if only out of desperation on the part of the parents. Many of these will in fact respond well. It seems to me that the group of children that are on medication and children that are not,in part is self selected for the effectiveness of the treatment they are using.

So my hope is that this may be a reflection of children in fact getting the care they need. I do worry though that there are many parents that think they are doing the right thing,keeping their children off medications. While I can never know for certain how it would have played out had I been treated,I do know that my mother was told I should be on medication. She refused,horrified that her child would be drugged "just to suppress unruly behavior" Im only a few months into treatment right now,but its such an amazing result. Some of my problems I have left (perhaps,if I dare be hopeful,MOST of them) are simply habits and learned behaviors. I wonder if I had gotten treatment whether I could have unlearned or avoided learning those behaviors. Honestly,at the very least,I suspect that if I had been raised with a lot of structure,consistent appropriate discipline,and had been medicated and taught how to deal with and minimize my symptoms while being supported by the medication,then when the medication was withdrawn,I would have been much better off.

I know part of the problem I had was that I had no idea what was going on and I think there are a lot of children that are going through that. If I had realized what was going on,at some point I would have sought help. More importantly,there were times when I seriously considered taking ,what at the time I saw as "the easy way",going into fields that fit well with my "quirks" as I saw them. For instance,I had a internship with the state,doing interesting work,and my boss was very happy with my work and wanted to hire me permanent. I could have switched majors to geology,which would have been relatively easy compared with what I ended up doing (would not have needed in depth statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics for instance). In fact,that job had a lot of field work,which I was great with,it was a change of scenery which helped keep me interested and because I was working in a team,the requirement to get my job done is immediate,and reinforced by people I was working directly with. I thought about it,and I knew that it would be a good job,but I thought about how interesting things like the quantum mechanics was and thought, "My real problem is I just put off studying these things until the last minute and don't stay on task" I assumed I was like everyone else and all I had to do was simply want to do it bad enough and it would happen,and every-time it didn't,Id feel like it was a personal failing.

I feel bad for those children out there that are going to grow up like I did,constantly feeling like failure and quite literally asking themselves,just like I did on countless occasions,why things like getting places on time,getting important things done,from cleaning their rooms to doing their homework,social interactions,etc ,were so easy for some people and so hard for them,and wondering what they were doing wrong and why they cant figure it out and do what everyone tells them they should be able to.

I think the whole thing about ADHD being overdiagnosed may NOT be that much of a deal,even if it is partially true. Perhaps the best way to deal with it is to try to make sure that the children are being monitored properly,and for instance,if the medication is not working or has a bad effect,that something else be tried,and that those parents who try non pharmaceutical treatments,be helped to understand that should this not work,medication may be an option.

Of course parents should,and for the most part do,understand that medicating a condition is in fact their choice. This has important ramifications. Many parents right now say "I dont want my child zoned out on drugs for the rest of his life" and that's a valid concern. However,educating the parents on what the drugs do,why they do it and what the expected effects are is critical. What I think they are not getting from the doctors is,just because you try adderall or ritalin for instance,no matter if it works or doesn't,that he or she has to keep taking it.

I think that it would go a long way to explain to parents that different peoples brains are different,and some people respond to one drug well,and have problems,or no response to another drug,and that the symptoms of being "high" or "zoned out" are in fact indications that the drug is either not working right or in the wrong dose,and more importantly,that if your child tries these medications,and they end up zoned out,and your watching for it,then you can simply try some other treatment,whether it involves drugs or not. In short,just because your doctor puts your child on Ritalin,does not mean hes required to keep taking it if YOU as a parent decide that the benefits don't outweigh the negatives and side effects.