Over a Million Children Under the Age of Six Are Taking Psychiatric Drugs in America

Statistics shows that one in six Americans takes psychiatric drugs. This is a rather serious information, and it points out to the fact that most people are unaware of the danger brought by this medication. Do you know that children take these drugs, too?

According to mental health watchdog group Citizen Commission on Human Rights, more than a million kids under six take psychiatric drugs. Half a million kids are aged between four and five. Believe it or not, 274,804 are a year old or younger. Babies are given psychiatric drugs. Does it get any worse than this? About 370,778 toddlers aged 2-3 take this medication.

The situation is a lot more serious than this. About 4,130,340 children aged 6-12 take psychiatric drugs as confirmed by the data from IMS Health.

If you think that these numbers apply to children receiving ADHD drugs, you are wrong. Only 1,422 children younger than a year take ADHD drugs. About 181,000 toddlers take these drugs. So, what do other kids take?

Anti-anxiety drugs are commonly used in children. About 227,132 babies under a year and 248,000 of those aged 4-5 take this medication.

The real numbers are a lot higher than this, because some doctors hand out psychiatric drugs for “off-label” use. It’s a risky practice that may result in serious consequences.

A study conducted at Colombia University Irving Medical Center is focused on the use of psychiatric medication in children and adolescents. A group of researchers compared prescribing rates with prevalence rates for common psychiatric disorders in children. The results were published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.

Ryan Sultan, MD, a child psychiatrist and researcher at CUIMC, led the study, and expressed his concern about the issue.

Safe options

Adults have enough knowledge to make a decision regarding their physical condition and therapy. However, children don’t have the same opportunity, and they don’t really have a choice. Children take whatever their parents and doctors give them.

Antianxiety, antidepressant and antipsychotic medication may cause heart attack, psychosis, suicidal ideation, diabetes, stroke, mania and sudden death.

Psychiatric medication alters brain chemistry in children and causes irreversible damage. These should be used as a last resort, and children deserve better treatment.

Children need to understand how this world works, and parents need to teach them everything about the ups and downs of life. There are so many coping strategies kids should try, such as yoga, art therapy, breathing exercises, and physical activity.