American children are about three times more likely to be prescribed psychotropic medication than children in Europe. The differences may be a result of differing regulatory practices, along with cultural beliefs about the role of medication in emotional and behavioral problems.
A team of researchers from the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands investigated prescription levels in the three countries. Antidepressant and stimulant use was three or more times greater in the U.S. than in the Netherlands and Germany, while antipsychotic prevalence was 1.5 to 2.2 times greater.
The researchers pointed to different diagnostic classification systems, government cost restrictions in Europe, the larger number of child psychiatrists per capita in the U.S. and the use of two or more different psychotropic drugs in a single year in U.S. children as possible explanations. Direct-to-consumer drug advertising, which is common in the U.S., was also considered to be a likely reason for the difference.
Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
Every year more than 200 million prescriptions are written for children and teenagers in the United States, according to California’s Board of Pharmacy. That works out to more than three prescriptions per child, every year!
Meanwhile, in any two-week period in the United States, 13 million children take a prescription medication. Of them, over 6 million are taking them for chronic diseases, and the top five of these diseases that children take medications for are asthma, epilepsy, attention deficit disorders, arthritis and diabetes.
The amount of drugs being given to U.S. children is outrageous, and the extent of the problem becomes clear when you compare the statistics with other countries. U.S. children are getting three times more prescriptions for antidepressants and stimulants, and up to double the amount of antipsychotic drugs than kids from Germany and the Netherlands.
Isn’t it ironic that children are urged not to take recreational drugs, then are readily supplied with a steady stream of FDA-approved prescription medications, some of them mind-altering? It is presumed that these prescribed drugs are somehow safer than the illegal variety, when in reality recreational drugs are less likely to kill you than prescribed drugs!
Of course I’m not promoting recreational drug use, only trying to point out the insanity. America‘s “war on drugs” is directed at the wrong enemy — kids are taking prescription drugs at alarming rates, and for the sake of their very future, this needs to stop.
U.S. Culture Encourages Drugged-Up Children
From a very young age, sometimes even before they leave the hospital at birth, kids are given medicine. Antibiotics for colds and ear infections (even though they don’t work for this purpose), pills for indigestion, fever, headaches, the flu, and in some cases even for simply acting out.
Kids are taught that in order to “feel better” they need to go to the doctor and get a prescription. Or they need to go to the corner drugstore and get some type of liquid gel-cap to “cure” them. To make matters worse, kids are exposed to TV commercials, some with animated characters and talking animals, pedaling drugs to their parents and sometimes directly to teens.
So widely accepted is the practice of drugging our children that state-mandated, forced medication has become a growing trend.
In one case, without the presence of a single doctor, a court decided to put a 6-year-old child with mild autism on five powerful anti-psychotic drugs, even though none of the drugs had been approved by the FDA for use in children, and despite the mother’s adamant wishes not to do so.
Believe it or not, your child can actually be “diagnosed” with mental health “maladies” such as mathematics disorder, caffeine disorder, malingering, telephone scatialogia, and disorder of written expression. And if they can be diagnosed, you can bet that they can also be given a drug to “fix” the problem.
You Name an Ailment, There’s a Drug to “Cure” It
Among the most disheartening of all of this are the vast numbers of psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs being given to children. The number of prescriptions for psychotropic drugs for children has more than doubled between 1995 and 2000. And psychotropic drugs like Prozac, Paxil, Ritalin, Zyprexa and Depakote, by definition, alter your mind, your emotions and your behavior.
These drugs, many of which are not even approved for kids, act on your central nervous system, reduce your mobility and lead to a dizzying array of side effects ranging from depression and anger to sleep disturbances and behavior problems.
These powerful drugs are even being prescribed for toddlers as young as 2, whose brains and bodies are not fully developed. Combine these drugs into hefty doses of two, three or more different meds, and the side effects are anybody’s guess.
There may even be a chance that as these kids get older, the mind-altering drugs could lead to violent “hostility events” like those that occurred at Virginia Tech and Columbine High School.
Aside from mind-altering medications, young kids are also being prescribed a laundry list of other almost-always-unnecessary and typically dangerous drugs like:
• Sleeping pills
• Heartburn drugs
• Statins to lower cholesterol
The saddest part is, none of these drugs ever address the cause of the problem. Most all of these ailments are easily overcome by leading a healthy lifestyle. It’s too bad that doctors won’t tell you that before pulling out their prescription pads, because a lot of unnecessary suffering could be prevented.