From 2002 to 2010, the use of ADHD drugs grew by 46 percent -- or some 800,000 prescriptions a year. The top drug dispensed to adolescents was the stimulant methylphenidate, also known as Ritalin, with more than four million prescriptions filled in 2010.
"What the article is suggesting is that the number of children that we are treating for attention deficit disorder has gone up," said Dr. Scott Benson, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and a spokesperson for the American Psychiatric Association.
"For the most part I think the overall increase reflects a reduction in the stigma," he told Reuters Health. "It used to be, ‘You're a bad parent if you can't get your child to behave, and you're a doubly bad parent if you put them on medicine.'"
Dr. Lawrence Diller, a behavioral pediatrician who has written extensively about ADHD, was more critical of the rise in stimulant prescriptions, noting that the U.S. is far ahead of other countries in its use of the drugs.
"You have to look at how our society handles school children's problems. It's clear that we rely much, much more on a pharmacological answer than other societies do," Diller said. "The medicine is overprescribed primarily, but under-prescribed for certain inner-city groups of children."
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Youth prescribed psychotropic drugs much more often for behavior modification
Recently, in an item titled "Hypothesizing reasons for continued crime declines," Grits mentioned the theory that new and improved pharmacology is a contributing factor to reduced crime, particularly juvenile crime. So I was interested to see data describing the growth in behavior modification drugs given to youth, particularly for attention deficit disorder. According to Reuters: