Hat tip Naked Capitalism for this link
Al Jazeera has an excellent discussion of the skyrocketing use of anti-psychotic prescriptions in the U.S.
Before including excerpts from this excellent article, I want to describe my personal experience with my son as they pertain to anti-psychotics.
One of my kids has Asperger's syndrome. When he was very little (2 years - 5 years) he suffered from SEVERE anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder.
My husband and I do not believe in medicating kids but the severity of his anxiety and obsessiveness interfered with his ability to learn and experience the world so we decided to try a very low level of a SSRI (at the time we tried a very low level of Prozac).
He did benefit from this drug because it reduced his anxiety so that he could focus on other aspects of his environment outside of his preseverative interests. So, his anxiety was managed in part through the SSRI.
Still, at times in his life his anxiety spikes and it is truly life dislocating for him. During one of these episodes when he was about 6 years old I took him to see a physician who was voted by a local newspaper as a very good pediatrician.
This individual pressed me to put my son on Risperdal because it had been approved for children with autism. I told her that I had read the clinical trial information about Risperdal and I would under no circumstances place my child in jeopardy by giving him this drug, which can cause diabetes and usually results in a 20 to 30 pound weight gain in a kid over 1 year!!!!
She had no other advice.
I was disgusted that she would put my kid at risk with this dangerous drug despite the fact that his behavior in no way even warranted a prescription for an anti-psychotic.
Anti-psychotics prescriptions used to be only given to kids when their behavior was violent and threatening, dangerous.
That practice changed when Risperdal was promoted for the newly publicized bipolar disorder in kids. Please see my post here for how this disorder was promoted by a corrupt doctor and how kids today in juvenile detention are "managed" using it
Today, kids with anxiety are routinely put on dangerous anti-psychotics. A friend's daughter was having severe anxiety and she was put on this terrible drug. She gained 20-25 pounds and started lactating! Sick!
Recently I brought my son to a psychiatrist because of high, school-related anxiety (my family physician's recommendation--I dislike psychiatrists for this reason) and she wanted to put him on another anti-psychotic, Seroquel. I said no thank you.
My son will struggle with anxiety all of his life, but so far he has been able to master it, rather than the reverse. He is a very academically talented kid and very athletic. His desire for success exacerbates his anxiety.
There is no easy path, but putting kids on DANGEROUS drugs is not the right course.
Psychiatric drugs may be needed for some people in some circumstances, but they should always be a LAST RESORT and must be carefully SUPERVISED medically.
Unfortunately, these dangerous anti-psychotics are a first step rather than a last resort for most psychiatrists I've encountered and they are not supervised as they should be.
Having said my piece, I recommend readers turn to the Al Jazeera article
Mass psychosis in the US: How Big Pharma got Americans hooked on anti-psychotic drugs.
James Ridgeway Last Modified: 12 Jul 2011 06:20
"Has America become a nation of psychotics? You would certainly think so, based on the explosion in the use of antipsychotic medications. In 2008, with over $14 billion in sales, antipsychotics became the single top-selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the United States, surpassing drugs used to treat high cholesterol and acid reflux.
Once upon a time, antipsychotics were reserved for a relatively small number of patients with hard-core psychiatric diagnoses - primarily schizophrenia and bipolar disorder - to treat such symptoms as delusions, hallucinations, or formal thought disorder. Today, it seems, everyone is taking antipsychotics. Parents are told that their unruly kids are in fact bipolar, and in need of anti-psychotics, while old people with dementia are dosed, in large numbers, with drugs once reserved largely for schizophrenics. Americans with symptoms ranging from chronic depression to anxiety to insomnia are now being prescribed anti-psychotics at rates that seem to indicate a national mass psychosis.
It is anything but a coincidence that the explosion in antipsychotic use coincides with the pharmaceutical industry's development of a new class of medications known as "atypical antipsychotics." Beginning with Zyprexa, Risperdal, and Seroquel in the 1990s, followed by Abilify in the early 2000s, these drugs were touted as being more effective than older antipsychotics like Haldol and Thorazine. More importantly, they lacked the most noxious side effects of the older drugs - in particular, the tremors and other motor control problems.
The atypical anti-psychotics were the bright new stars in the pharmaceutical industry's roster of psychotropic drugs - costly, patented medications that made people feel and behave better without any shaking or drooling. Sales grew steadily, until by 2009 Seroquel and Abilify numbered fifth and sixth in annual drug sales, and prescriptions written for the top three atypical antipsychotics totaled more than 20 million. Suddenly, antipsychotics weren't just for psychotics any more....
READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE