Too much Too Little

Blog 1
Leah Devlin

In case you haven't noticed, there has been a frightening rise in the use of prescription drugs in America. A majority of this rise is in small children "diagnosed" with mental deficiencies. As the rate doctors are prescribing medication such as anti depressants and amphetamines, it is making our children the leading growth demographic for the drug industry. In fact, one in four children takes on prescription drugs to treat a chronic condition. This statistic perfectly highlights the flaws in our medical system and perhaps health care. Medicating small children with toxic, strong drugs is not a solution to a problem.
I have been exposed to this lifestyle though. Throughout my childhood i have been diagnosed and misdiagnosed with numerous learning disabilities. It was not until a few years ago where i was finally accurately diagnosed with ADHD. Suddenly, all of my symptoms were making sense but the next question was, "now what?" As per usually, i was prescribed amphetamines to subside the symptoms of my disability. Although this was a good temporary fix to my problem, the medication has worn off, the symptoms have reappeared, and i am left with no natural techniques for concentrating.Basically, there was a rebound effect with the medication I was taking . The withdraws I and many other children have experienced from medication should be a wake up call to our society. The magic pill that was intended to help me succeed throughout my high school career has failed and I am left to my own devices.
Rather than kids being taught to deal with the problems they have been faced with, they are taught in order to get better or cope with their problems, they need medication. Hooking kids onto drugs at such young ages is a dangerous trend. Teaching them to depend upon drugs for their well being is just the easy way out. Young people must work through their problems themselves. There are many healthier coping devices aside from medication. If a child is not taught how to deal with their problems, they develop differently from what is considered the norm. Starting medication treatment early does not even give them a chance to manage their issues naturally. Not having these basic life learning experiences is not setting a child up for a successful future, as they are now soley relying on a pill to get them through the day.
Medication that is made to treat illnesses such as ADD or depression may be helpful for the user, but does not take away from the fact that these pills come with dangerous side effects. Kids should be put through intensive counseling and re- training before doctors resort to medicating a child. Otherwise, we are raising a generation that expects a pill to do the job for them.

Miss- diagnosed?
Blog 2

More than a remarking 500,000 kids and adolescents in America are now taking anti psychotic drugs to cope. This is according to a September 2009 study by the Food and Drug Administration. This number is not only growing among older teenagers, but also with tens of thousands of preschoolers. A Columbia University report found a recent rise in the rate of prescribing anti psychotic drugs for privately insured 2-5 year olds. But in that rise, only 40% of these children were receiving proper mental health assessments, meaning the results may or may not have been accurate. And without accurate results, the wrong medication is then prescribed to this young child. This statement alone should scare everyone. The fact that many children are taking powerful drugs on a daily basis that aren't even made for them. This recent phenomenon is partially derived by the delusional thought that these drugs are safe and appropriate for young individuals to consume regularly.

Downsides to Anti- psychotics
Blog 3

Although sometimes drugging a child seems to be the only option, there are many dangerous side effects to these types of drugs. Parents across America can tell stories of serious side effects that last long after their kids discontinued the drug use. Despite the fact that most anti- psychotic drugs are approved for only adults, the rate of children being treated with these drugs is rising drastically, faster than the rate of adults taking these drugs. One of the more common side effects is weight gain. A new study shows that kid's weight increases 10 to 19 pounds in the first three months of taking the drug. This unhealthy weight gain is many cases leads to elevation of triglycerides, cholesterol, and other alarming effects.The worry is that this type of weight gain over a certain amount of time will cause more serious effects such as diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes. On certain anti psychotics, there is a strong physiologic desire to eat more that is just irresistible to most users. Along with weight gain, there are other side effects tat someone considering these drugs should consider. Uncontrollable muscle movement and tremors are among more serious problems tied to these medications. Metabolic side effects from atypical drugs can lead to serious complications as well. There are behavioral and mental side effects as well that will effect the child's quality of life. Being on this medication has the power to make a child feel like a "zombie" and zoned out. Often because the medication is made to calm a child down, but being too calm is not a healthy state of mind.

Long Term Effects of Drugs on Children
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Not only do these drugs have immediate effects on your body, but they also will be leaving you with long term effects that occasionally you will have to deal with for a significant amount of time.A common drug that children are often taking nowadays is Adderall, so I am going to discuss with you some of the long term effects this medication can come with. While you read this information, keep in mind that all children have different responses to the same medication and treatment, so a drug that is positively helping one individual child, may be worsening another child's symptoms. One of the more common but not severe effect is diet change. Adderall and other stimulants tends to make a child lose their appetite, so they are not getting the nutrition and growing child needs. Although this does not seem too detrimental to health, these bad eating patterns add up and have a negative impact on the individual's life. After a certain amount of time, dietary interventions are then needed. Furthermore, a study proves that effects can vary by the age of a patient, with preschoolers usually having stronger side effects of the medication. A 2007 study shows that there is in fact a link between appetite and growth and also height and weight. The lose of appetite has been reported in up to 60% of adolescents when taking stimulant drugs. There has also been major research and studies that concludes that stimulants are associated with stunt in growth of a child, usually in the first three years of treatment. There are also concerns about the development of the brain and heart problems with children taking Adderall, Although research is not conclusive and nothing has been completely proven yet.

Drug Trials
Blog 5

There is a lot of controversy concerning the ethics of the Placebo-controlled drug trials. Only 2 drug trials are required to beat out the placebos in order for the drug to be approved by the Food and Drud Administration. This to me, is not effective. It has been made way to easy for a strong drug that will potentially be given to kids to be approved. There should be a much more selective way in which drugs are determined legal or not.The small amount of trials that are being publicized are trials that were out of thousands. So it is obvious that this is not quite accurate nor effective. Federal oversight does not help the public. The placebo group gives information to a certain research question. Placebo use is meant to deny a treatment to some patients. A placebo-controlled trial is ethically conducted even when effective therapy does exist. Sometimes, a placebo represents the use of a sugar pill or other inert substances, when trying a new medication. There are instances of research that is perceived as ethical because there was information withheld from patients which is not acceptable.

Foster Children
Blog 6

According to a Government Accountability Office, the Federal Government is not doing enough to oversee the treatment of foster children who are being prescribed mind- altering drugs. There are nearly 425,000 foster children in America and a significant amount of these kids are being exposed to powerful drugs as an easy fix to their serious mental problems. The GAO's report was based on a two year long investigation, looking at 5 different states and the findings were shocking. There are thousands of foster children being prescribed psychiatric drugs at doses higher than the maximum levels approved by the Food and drug Administration (FDA). There were hundreds of foster children receiving five or more psychiatric drugs at the same time. This is despite no evidence supporting the use of numerous drugs or the safety of this drug combination. Basically, the GAO's findings were pure proof that there are problems with the drug administration to Children in America. almost 100,000 foster children in 5 states were looked at by the GAO and out of those children, they found that more than one-fourth of foster children were being prescribed to at least one psychiatric drug. It was found that they are prescribed to psychiatric drugs at rates up to five times higher than children that are not in foster homes. These statistics are alarming. Along with high doses being distributed, Foster children are nine times more likely to be prescribed drugs not FDA approved than non- foster children.Yes, these children may be coming from horrible home environments, but they usually do not have the complex medical problems that those in the disabled population have. Doctors are prescribing these children who could simply just have a behavioral problem, the same drugs that would be given to someone with severe bipolar disorders or even schizophrenia. Doctors simply do not have the evidence to support this kind of use, especially when being prescribed to young children. All of these alarming findings should prompt states to work on improving the quality of care in their area. And must be reminded, how important the health and safety of our vulnerable young children really is.

Forming Addiction
Blog 7

Exposing our young children to a powerful drugs is also exposing them to early addiction. It is proven that a reliance to stimulants or anti psychotics is common to happen. One of the more known drug that is commonly abused is Adderall, which is used to fight ADD/ADHD. Unfortunately, kids that are using Adderall are easily able to abuse this amphetamine and become highly addicted. Anyone beginning to take Adderall is at risk for addiction, as this is a highly addictive substance because of its desirable effects on the body. Becoming addicted to stimulants such as this is not healthy especially for a child, because cravings for uppers can often lead to experimenting with cocaine and other horrible drugs. When an addict cannot get what they want, they find a substance that is close to it, like other uppers. This type of addiction is setting a child up for life long problems.Colleges have also become more than familiar with Adderall. The drug has become in lots of cases a college students best friend. It helps them to stay up all night and concentrate of studying for that final. This kind of reliance on a drug to get daily activities done only ends badly. There is a huge black market for Adderall that some do not know about. Being prescribed to this drug means you have what many other people want and it becomes tempting in high school years to start selling your drug to others. A drug this dangerous should not be so freely prescribed to young children. Physical and psychological dependence can occur when taking this drug, therefore withdrawal effects may happen if the medication use is stopped suddenly after only a few weeks of continues use. Some of the symptoms of withdrawal include depression, extreme fatigue and in some cases, psychosis. Because there is a fine line between substance abuse and addiction and abuse usually leads to addiction, here are some warning signs of Adderall addiction. Using adderall for a purpose other than what it was intended for. Most abuse it to feel better and more confident or to lose weight, rather than controlling thr symptoms of ADD/ADHD. Another sign is over using the substance and craving it when it is not in your system.

Alternative Treatments
Blog 8

While prescription medication can be helpful for a child suffering with ADD/ADHD, there are in fact natural remedies for dealing with their learning disability other than drugs!Because ADHD effects 7% of school children, lets take a look at some natural alternative treatments for this disorder. Because medication only masks the symptoms, here are some different treatments. Exercise is a great way to subside the symptoms. Exercise releases endorphins in the body, which boosts your mood. It also rises the level of neurotransmitters in your brain that people with ADHD lack. Also participating in a physical activity that requires more attention to the body movements have even more benefit to exercising the attention system in your brain. Some exercises that entail this are martial arts and yoga. Another alternative is to improve your diet. Access sugar and food additives actually worsen ADHD. If you can limit your sugar intake and balance your carbohydrates with protein. Food additives can affect the person's ability to concentrate better. Caffeine consumption can also affect people with ADHD the same way low dose stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin do. And last but not least, meditation can also benefit someone with ADHD. It helps reduce the stress and teaches discipline while teaching your brain to slow down. All of the above are more natural alternative treatments to ADHD than medication.