Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Sunday, March 30, 2014 at 6:18 AM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (1)
  • Print

Mood-control medication for your child?

Some guidelines can help parents of the many young people now being treated with prescription psychotropic medication.


Dayton Daily News

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
I ask again: how did civilization come so far before drugs substituted for child rearing? MORE

advertising

DAYTON, Ohio — About 6.3 percent of kids ages 12 to 19 are on prescription psychotropic medication, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This appears to be an increase over previous years, although comparable data is not readily available.

These children take mediation primarily for two problems — depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Males are more likely to be prescribed medication for ADHD (4.2 percent for males vs. 2.2 percent for females). However, girls were given medication for depression at a rate twice that of boys (4.5 percent for girls vs. 2 percent for boys).

Does this represent a pseudo chemical solution to real problems, or the appropriate treatment of kids with psychiatric disorders? Parents and professionals are unsure.

Those who have concerns about this trend view it within a broader context of using drugs to control our moods.

Drug abuse among our teens remains high. Twenty-four percent of high-school kids reported binge drinking in the past two weeks, defined as having five or more alcoholic beverages in a row. About 25 percent of high-school seniors reported using illicit drugs within the past 30 days.

The behavior of our youth reflects a greater societal acceptance of chemical mood alteration. However, let’s not confuse drug abuse with the legitimate prescription of medication to treat mental disorders. There is a role for medicine, but parents need to be cautious.

Here are some good guidelines to follow regarding your children and these types of medications:

1. Obtain a comprehensive evaluation from a specialist in treating childhood disorders. Rely on your family physician as the best source of information about qualified professionals.

2. Ask lots of questions. Make certain you leave the office with a good understanding of what the medicine will (and will not) do. Ask how long it is anticipated that your child will be on the medication and be sensitive to any side effects.

3. Combine medication with therapy. The CDC reports that only half of the kids in one of its studies were seeing a mental-health professional for ongoing therapy. In the treatment of adolescent depression, medication combined with cognitive behavior therapy is the most effective treatment protocol.

4. Encourage excellent communication between the physician ordering the medicine and the therapist treating your child.

5. Be careful of your explanations to your child. I’ve had kids tell me that they were misbehaving on a certain day because “I forgot to take my meds.” Don’t let your child avoid responsibility.

6. Remember the Law of Moderation. Neither embrace medication as the solution for all problems, nor reject chemical treatment under all circumstances.

Dr. Gregory Ramey is executive director of Dayton Children’s Pediatric Center for Mental Health Resources. Email: Rameyg@childrensdayton.org.

This article appeared in the Dayton Daily News.



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

Get ready for 2015

Get ready for 2015

The Seattle Times 12-month wall calendar features hand-picked photos of life in the Pacific Northwest. Order while supplies last!

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►