Kids Drugs Mental Health
Very often, school staff has the best perspective on a child's behavior.
"The staff knows what's normal and what's abnormal. They'll know if a child
is 'way off the chart.' It's harder for parents to gauge that," Bukstein
In too many situations, primary care physicians who don't have access to
specialists will prescribe medications when they're not necessary. "A
perfect analogy is prescribing antibiotics for viruses. It's a very similar
situation," says Bukstein.
"But preschoolers, because of their vulnerability, need special
assessment," he tells WebMD. "It behooves doctors to go the extra mile
to diagnose the problem. There are some very effective behavioral treatments
that can help young children."
There's risk involved in prescribing for these very young kids, says
Bukstein. "They have considerably more side effects to these [psychiatric]
medications. They also don't have the same response rate to the drug that older
Patients in his clinic are involved in two multisite studies looking at
preschoolers' response to medications.
Keep in mind, he says, "medication alone often does not solve a child's
problems. If the child does have ADHD, stimulants may be the single best
treatment, but behavioral therapy does have an additional effect. It adds to
the medication's efficacy. Kids who get therapy often don't have to take as
high of doses."
Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD, August 22,