Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size
A
A
A

Why Does Johnny Take So Many Pills?

continued...

Rushton and colleagues found that the number of children and adolescents (age 19 and under) in their study who were taking stimulants rose from just over 9,000 in 1990 to more than 135,000 in 1998. Over the same period, the proportion of Medicaid recipients age 6 to 14 on Ritalin or similar drugs rose from almost 3% to nearly 11%.

The researchers also saw a fall in the average age of kids taking antidepressants from 15 years to 13 years. Boys received stimulants three times more often than girls throughout the '90s. Girls had a two-to-one edge over boys in taking antidepressants in 1990, but by 1998 the boys had caught up. Hispanics were less likely than others to be on stimulants, and whites were more likely than others to be on antidepressants.

"Prescriptions for stimulants and [antidepressants] have increased dramatically for children and adolescents during the 1990s," the authors write. "Prescriptions continue to increase ... In addition, combination therapy has become a common practice." They also write that future research must determine why this is happening.

Vital Information:

  • New research shows that over the past 10 years, young, low-income patients in North Carolina have been getting more prescriptions for stimulants and antidepressants.
  • In interpreting the findings, the researchers say there could be three explanations: more kids are being discovered with, and treated for, mental problems; drugs are replacing other therapies for established patients; or simply too many prescriptions are being written.
  • The authors add that doctors and parents should be careful with medicating children. Some experts feel treating these children needs to take a comprehensive approach. Observers add, however, that when used properly, these medications have helped a lot of children with their illnesses.
1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
 
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
 
mother and daughter talking
Tool
child brushing his teeth
Slideshow
 
Sipping hot tea
Slideshow
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Video
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
Article
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
 
tissue box
Quiz
Child with adhd
Slideshow