By the time he was 3, the poor kid had been diagnosed with autism, bipolar disorder, hyperactivity, insomnia and "oppositional defiant disorder" (um, isn't that a fancy phrase for "normal toddler behavior"?). He was on the antipsychotic Risperdal, the antidepressant Prozac, two sleeping medicines and a pill for attention-deficit disorder.
Did you read that?! Prozac! Sleeping pills!
The side effects had Kyle "drooling" and "overweight," but his mom likened the worst side effect to a coma. "I didn't have my son," she said. "It's like, you'd look into his eyes and you would just see blankness."†
Fast-forward to the present, and you meet a very different kid. Kyle is 6, in first grade and doing very well in school. He's off the drugs (except for Vyvanese for ADD), and as it turns out, never should have been on all those drugs in the first place.
In fact, the article pointed out that more and more doctors are writing stronger scripts for younger and younger children, citing a 2009 Food and Drug Administration report which stated that over half a million children and adolescents in America are now taking antipsychotic drugs. Yet some doctors warn of the considerable developmental and physical risks these strong drugs pose to younger children, and say that research has not deemed these meds safe for this age group.
Another disturbing nugget of info: A Rutgers University study found that children from low-income families, like Kyle, are four times more likely to receive antipsychotic medicines than children whose parents are privately insured. Why? Because medicating these children is cheaper than asking them to participate in family therapy.
Can you believe that, according to Texas Medicaid records obtained by the Times writer, a whopping $96 million was spent on antipsychotic drugs for teenagers and children -- including three unidentified infants who were given the drugs before their first birthdays?!
If you read the article, you'll find it grows more obscene by the paragraph. Why would anyone put a BABY on antipsychotic meds?! Aren't all babies somewhat psychotic? And what of the long-term health risks to these children? Aren't there any liability risks here? Who is accountable for these poor kids?
Do any of you know of a very young child who was put on strong meds like these?