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Posted: 5/4/2004 6:50:17 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/4/2004 6:54:36 PM EST by The_Macallan]

Alarming rise in preschooler use of antidepressants

Report amid warning mind-altering drugs lead to youth suicide, violence

May 3, 2004

For many people it is difficult to comprehend how children younger than 5 could be prescribed mind-altering drugs and be taking them on a regular basis, but according to a recent survey by Express Scripts Inc., a private pharmacy benefit manager that researches drug trends, not only are children from birth to age 5 being given antidepressants, it is this age group that has shown the largest proportional increase in the use of antidepressants.

The Express Scripts survey, titled Trends in the Use of Antidepressants in a National Sample of Commercially Insured Pediatric Patients, 1998 to 2002, presented prescription-claims data that showed "the overall prevalence of antidepressant use among children increased from 160 per 10,000, or 1.6 percent, in 1998 to 240 per 10,000, 2.4 percent, in 2003, for an adjusted annual increase of 9.2 percent.

The growth in the overall prevalence of antidepressants use was greater among girls, a 68 percent increase, than boys, a 34 percent increase. In 2002 antidepressant use was highest among girls aged 15 to 18 years, at 640 per 10,000, or 6.4 percent.

The trend of increasing overall use of antidepressants among children and adolescents appears to have been driven primarily by greater use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors."

The survey concludes that "the growth in the prevalence of use of antidepressant medications among youths appears to be continuing, and the rate of increase between 1998 and 2002 is similar to the rate of increase seen in the period of the second-generation antidepressants, the late 1980s to mid-1990s."

This survey comes on the heels of the Food and Drug Administration recommending that pharmaceutical companies "change the labels of 10 drugs to include stronger cautions and warnings" due to increasing criticism about thepotential for violence and suicide in adolescent and pediatric patients while taking the drugs {cough-Columbine-cough} .

The antidepressants that fall under the FDA's recommendation, which also are included in the Express Scripts survey, include Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Serzone and Remeron.

Naturally, a first impulse is to point the finger at the pharmaceutical companies, but in this instance, because a diagnosis must be made before a prescription is filled, critics are asking how one diagnoses an infant, a 2-year-old toddler, or even a 5-year-old preschooler with depression or any of the other 300 mental disorders? Given that this is at best a purely subjective practice, one might at the very least imagine that diagnosing a child who does not yet speak would be difficult if not impossible.

But according to David Fassler, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont: "Depression can certainly begin at very early ages. We can see signs and symptoms of depression in preschoolers, and there are even infants who can experience depression. They may be withdrawn, don't interact, may be reluctant to eat, and they may not gain weight or even lose weight. There are a lot of other medical problems that need to be ruled out in such circumstances, and we sometimes find that there are issues with depression elsewhere in the family, so if there is a parent with depression, it may get expressed in certain ways through the child."

As Fassler sees it: "There are certainly 2- and 3-year-olds who get treated with medication, and it's not surprising to me that this group has shown the largest proportional increase. But the numbers are still relatively small. {DARN!}

And [diagnosing] it should only be done by someone who has the appropriate training and expertise and closely monitors the child. If you're talking about preschool kids, then the symptoms would include kids who are withdrawn, sad, irritable, may be tearful, may have difficulty sleeping, they lose their appetite, they look sad all the time and they may be reluctant to play with other kids. Clearly these are not easy diagnoses and you can't do them in a five-minute office visit. It really requires comprehensive evaluation that may take several hours that would involve understanding the child's developmental history, the family history, and really reviewing the medical history closely."

Maybe the infant or toddler is depressed, but couldn't any or all of those "symptoms" be due to many things other than mental illness? "Absolutely," says Fassler, "and that's why they need a comprehensive evaluation. The symptoms can be due to other psychiatric problems like anxiety, ADHD [attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder], conduct disorder {Huh???? } or a reaction to certain medications and certain stresses in the child's life, or it could be a phase or even a mood the child is going through."

Though it does seem hard to imagine the kind of expertise needed to diagnose the difference between the alleged mental illness known as "conduct disorder" and just being a toddler, Peter Breggin, a psychiatrist and author of the Antidepressant Fact Book, tells Insight that regardless of the diagnosis, use of mind-altering drugs on the very young is outrageous.

"To inflict these drugs on the growing brains of infants and children," says Breggin, "is wrong and abusive. We're in an era of technological child abuse in which physicians routinely, whether they know it or not, are actually abusing infants and children with toxic substances, rather than addressing their real needs. And if an infant is so grossly apathetic that it is apparent to a pediatrician or a family doctor, then something very disturbing is going on with that child's physiology or that child's life."

According to this forensic psychiatrist: "These drugs have not even proven to be useful in adults, where the studies are marginal at best, and we now have the FDA acknowledging that in both children and adults the drugs produce a wide variety of behavioral and mental abnormalities. Antidepressants drastically change the functioning of widespread neurotransmitters in the brain, and there is no way to interfere at a stage of rapid growth without disturbing the function of the brain." {Precisely.... Muhaahaahaa}

Breggin concludes, "We're talking about an extreme here with these off-label prescriptions [for drugs not approved for children]. This is off-commonsense usage and out-of-reason usage."

He adds,"Parents need to reclaim their children from the medical and psychiatric experts when it comes to psychological and behavioral problems, because the answers do not lie in drugs. Don't rely on a physician for a prescription to raise a child." {Damn STRAIGHT!!! }

Congress looking into it - {Maaarvelous}

The question of whether intervention is needed in the ever-increasing use of mind-altering antidepressants on America's children finally has landed squarely in the lap of congressional lawmakers, and both Senate and House committees are looking into the matter.

Rep. Jim Greenwood, R-Pa., who chairs the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, tells Insight that the issue caught his attention when Great Britain acted to ban antidepressants in children younger than 18.

"What we know," says Greenwood, "is that there have been studies in Europe that have indicated there may be a correlation between the use of antidepressants among children and suicidal ideation, attempted suicide and, tragically, suicide. And it seems to be the case that not all of the studies that drug manufacturers have done have found their way to the FDA – and, of course, that's not necessarily a violation of law, but we think it is important. We want to make sure that these drugs are safe. Once we answer the question as to whether there is a problem, we can decide what action needs to be taken."

Greenwood explains: "We've requested information from seven of the pharmaceutical companies and from the FDA. Based on what we get back we'll then decide whether to hold hearings. Whether we have to look at diagnosing, my impulsive answer is that certainly the diagnosis and the drugs should be looked at in total. But I'll have to sit down with my staff and talk about this. You're alerting me to [connections between school shooters and prescription drugs] that I'm not aware of, but I am fascinated. I think that the answer is yes, we have to look at both questions – both the diagnosing and the drugs – but I'm sure you have a problem with what came first, the chicken or the egg. Did the shootings happen because of mental disorders or because of the drugs?"

Considering that the FDA has recommended stronger warning labels for these antidepressants, say critics, one may assume that the federal agency made this decision based on official data. Congress would do well to ask for that data, critics urge.

Getting the American Psychiatric Association to provide Congress with the science to prove even one of its more than 300 mental disorders would be unprecedented. But critics argue that until those questions are answered, American children will continue to be "medicated" with mind-altering drugs.

Yep, quite a Brave New World we're creating.

It Takes A Village To Put Infants On Prozac

Link Posted: 5/4/2004 6:52:32 PM EST
Tell the woman to get her fat ass back at home and the man to stay in the marriage like he supposted to and this shit won't happen!

Link Posted: 5/4/2004 7:03:31 PM EST
I would have loved to stay in the marriage, but she would'nt get off her fat ass, so she left.. now she has two more kids, has my kids fucked up on anti depresents, and she gets to sit on her fat ass all day long...
Link Posted: 5/4/2004 7:17:45 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/4/2004 7:18:41 PM EST by Ops]

Originally Posted By coltshorty14:
I would have loved to stay in the marriage, but she would'nt get off her fat ass, so she left.. now she has two more kids, has my kids fucked up on anti depresents, and she gets to sit on her fat ass all day long...

Overmedicating a minor is child abuse. Get your kids away no matter what you have to do.
More evidence that inadequate parents who can't raise goldfish should not have children. SSRIs get handed out like popcorn at a movie theater, instead of learning to control one's emotions, get them stoned on mindfucking drugs. Holy shit. Ops
Link Posted: 5/4/2004 7:22:04 PM EST
and this is why ppl shud Home Scool kids
Link Posted: 5/4/2004 7:38:48 PM EST

Originally Posted By sick:
and this is why ppl shud Home Scool kids

So is your spelling an argument for it or against it?
Link Posted: 5/4/2004 7:45:44 PM EST
If I was a 5 year old today, I would be begging for the damn red pill!
Link Posted: 5/4/2004 7:46:34 PM EST

Originally Posted By arowneragain:

Originally Posted By sick:
and this is why ppl shud Home Scool kids

So is your spelling an argument for it or against it?

Give him a break, he is from Kali.

I still think the kids of today are totally screwed.
Link Posted: 5/4/2004 7:47:25 PM EST

Originally Posted By sick:
and this is why ppl shud Home Scool kids

Your spelling is abhorrent, but I still agree with your point.

(lifelong home-schooled person)
Link Posted: 5/4/2004 7:49:05 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/4/2004 8:30:00 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/4/2004 8:30:28 PM EST by The_Macallan]

Originally Posted By Greenhorn:

And who could ever forget Ellen Feiss?

Link Posted: 5/5/2004 2:21:07 AM EST
The purveyors of this crap should be killed.
Link Posted: 5/5/2004 2:30:55 AM EST
I honestly can't see any reason why a small child should be depressed.
Link Posted: 5/5/2004 2:42:28 AM EST
This shit pisses me off. I hate psychiatrists.

When I was a kid, I was lazy and pissed away my grades in school. My parents immediately assumed there was something horribly wrong with me. They took me to a head doctor, who diagnosed me with OCD and gave me meds for a couple of years.

Now, the truth was that I was just a kid. So what if I mess around? Kids don't need pills, they need ass-whompings. I've always wanted to be in the military, and my parents taking me to a doc and popping me full of pills almost killed my chance of following a chosen path.

Giving kids (ESPECIALLY preschoolers) meds is largely unnecessary, and will only hurt them in the long run, either by killing opportunities in jobs or other positions, and even increase the cost of living with some of the more expensive pills.

I guess what I'm really saying is that kids will be kids, kick their ass or chew them out as necessary.

(NOTE: I was never beat, and in actuality child-abuse isn't funny. Then again, looking back, I think it would have been pretty damn funny if I got popped in the mouth for acting up.)

Link Posted: 5/5/2004 2:50:49 AM EST
Lazy parents.

Link Posted: 5/5/2004 2:59:00 AM EST
My wife is a Teacher in "Special Ed" for K-3. The students are labeled emotionally disturbed. Some were crack babies and some are just extremely hyperactive. Although I and my wife are against putting children on meds to solve their problems, the meds do make it possible for these kids to focus on learning and keeping them calm so others can learn and the Teacher can make some progress. I have seen first hand some of these kids that are normally on meds but their crack head Moms forget to give it to them one day. They are unbelievably out of control and basically do nothing productive all day and are sometimes dangerous to themselves and others.
Just my .02
Link Posted: 5/5/2004 3:32:56 AM EST

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:
Lazy parents.

Roger that.

I have a 7 and 5 year old, as well as a 5 month old at home.

Teaching the kids is a 24/7 deal. Dont' substitute pills for discipline.
Link Posted: 5/5/2004 5:15:12 AM EST

The trend of increasing overall use of antidepressants among children and adolescents appears to have been driven primarily by greater use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors."

This writer is obviously a genius.
Link Posted: 5/5/2004 5:40:24 AM EST
Babysitter in a bottle.

Some of these kids might need it, like the developmentally disabled type.

My middle-son has mild autism, but is not on any meds.He does have tons of energy, but it can be expended by him playing out of doors.

I recently volunteered to go on a field trip with a bus load of developmentally disabled kids and boy was that an eye opener.

I had one punch me in the jaw, kick me and pinch. Little bastage.

I needed some anti-depressents after that haul.
Link Posted: 5/5/2004 6:38:30 AM EST
Been seeing this for years and it is only getting worse. You should see all of the meds some of these kids are on. It is a national disagrace. And the parents should be ashamed of themselves. You ought to see the pressure these people put on MDs to prescribe something because they are simply unwilling to act like parents. We are doing these kids a grave disservice.

This is one of the major reasons I got out of primary care. I could not in conscience do this, and it took up a large part of my day. What are we going to do? Tell parents to act like parents? That is the solution, of course, but no one who does so will keep a job for long.
Link Posted: 5/5/2004 6:45:21 AM EST

Originally Posted By The_Macallan:

Originally Posted By Greenhorn:

And who could ever forget Ellen Feiss?


That kid is strung out on SOMETHING.
Link Posted: 5/5/2004 7:22:43 AM EST
And we wonder why kids these days no longer see drugs as bad. My little brother is 13, and was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome 4 years ago, the muscular variety, not the vocal. His doctor wanted to immediately put him on medication, but my father and his now ex-wife decided to try something different. They put him on a special diet, severely limited his consumption of surgar and didn't let him have caffeine at all. They also enrolled him in Karate, and the result is that he learned how to keep himself calm so that his nervous system doesn't go out of wack.

This was a long, hard process. Initially, he had a lot of problems, blinking, snorting, twitching problems, and would act out. It was very tempting to just put him on a pill, but they were afraid that it would affect his development. Also, they were afraid that if he was on medication, it would affect his self-esteem, and would give him the message that there was something wrong with him, that he was abnormal, and that he couldn't control himself.

The end result is that he is a normal, productive, active kid who has almost no symptoms at all. When he does, it just manifests as blinking for a few moments then goes away, and the family just ignores it, instead of bringing attention to it. He has learned how to discipline his mind AND body, control his moods, and function as a normal kid. All of this without medication. However, it took a strong commitment from not only his parents, but his entire family. Unfortunately, most people today just don't want to take the time necessary to deal with the process, especially since all you have to do is give 'em a pill
Link Posted: 5/5/2004 2:27:09 PM EST
About the time that my now ex stated she wanted a divorce she started our son on this shit.

Yes, Chris has some issues but nothing that wouldn't be corrected by some “tough love” and guidance. Unfortunately my ex is a typical soccer mom who caves in immediately when faced with ANY resistance by the kids.

Any time I attempted to put my foot down and enforce discipline I was met with resistance from HER. It was always “You're a spoiled, adopted, only child whose parents didn't raise you right. I, on the other hand have a degree (Associate) in Child Development and have spent years as a daycare worker... I KNOW how to raise a child, you don't.”

To make matters a thousand times worse, anytime Chris had problems of any sort it was blamed on the “ADHD”... ALWAYS. It didn't take him long to figure out that all he had do do when he screwed up was to play “I have ADHD” card and everyone caved immediately and he got away with murder.

She blindly and without question put Chris on drugs. Never asked a single question about long term effects or how to get him off them eventually, just told the Doctor “OK.”

Fortunately her long-term boyfriend and I are VERY much alike, except he doesn't have any problem standing up and telling her and her mom to go to hell, which is quite often. (That is a quality that I sorely lacked).

He's working with the pediatrician and has had Chris's medication reduced and the goal is to ween him off the shit before he turns 18.

No one gives a shit about long term consequences of using this crap. The only interest (as in most things in this society) is instant results. God only knows what kind of totally mind fucked zombies we're going to be seeing in the next 10 or 20 years.
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