Skip to content

    Children's Health

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    More Preschoolers Receiving Psychiatric Medications

    continued...

    "Rather than prescribing a medication, sometimes we need to consider the child's perspective and consider stressors that could be causing problematic behaviors," Martin Maldonado, MD, tells WebMD in an interview seeking analysis of the study. These could include a move or a new sibling, which would be highly stressful to a young child, says Maldonado, an infant and child psychiatrist at Menninger Memorial Hospital in Topeka, Kan.

    The trend toward prescribing more psychotropic medications may reflect a change in children's mental health, John Dunne, MD, tells WebMD. "Neither the study author nor the editorial author mentioned anecdotal evidence that there is a rising prevalence of psychiatric disorders in very young children," he says. "This trend may be causing physicians to prescribe more psychotropic medication." Dunne is an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington in Seattle, with a private practice in Renton, Wash. He was not involved in the study.

    The study was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health and the George and Leila Mathers Charitable Foundation.

    Vital Information:

    • Researchers report many more children are receiving medications for psychiatric disorders. A study found that prescriptions for Ritalin and antidepressants rose significantly from 1991 to 1995.
    • The study's authors and observers alike note the rise in these types of prescriptions could indicate both increased awareness of pediatric mental disorders and a desire to cut costs in treating them.
    • Physicians note that questions remain concerning the appropriateness and safety of these medications in children. They stress that often, more than medication is needed to treat these illnesses in young patients.
    1 | 2

    Today on WebMD

    child with red rash on cheeks
    What’s that rash?
    plate of fruit and veggies
    How healthy is your child’s diet?
     
    smiling baby
    Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
    Middle school band practice
    Understanding your child’s changing body.
     

    worried kid
    fitArticle
    jennifer aniston
    Slideshow
     
    Measles virus
    Article
    sick child
    Slideshow
     

    babyapp
    New
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow
     
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
    Child Coughing or Sneezing into Elbow
    Article