Parents cautioned against mind-altering medicines for kids and teens: Study

on Thursday, 14 March 2013. Posted in Kid's Health, News Written By: HealthTzars News Group

Parents cautioned against mind-altering medicines for kids and teens: Study

Doctors from American Academy of Neurology have warned parents against medical and ethical effects of prescribing mood-altering and attention-boosting medications for healthy teens or kids.

Doctors have noticed a sharp rise in the number of prescriptions and diagnoses with respect to stimulants used to treat disorders like ADHD in the last twenty years. Dr. William Graf from Yale University, Connecticut and lead author of the study said that while the medications prove to be effective in young people having certain disorders, there is a rise in the number of healthy people prescribing the same drugs since they believe that it will improve their performance and concentration.

Results of survey by National Institute on Drug Abuse has shown that almost 1.7 percent students from eighth grade and 7.6 percent students from twelfth grade used a stimulant called, 'adderall' when they did not have any disorder. Dr. Graf said that this showed signs of overtreatment or overdiagnosis.

The study team said that doctors should refrain from prescribing these stimulants to teens without parent-consent. They said that in any case, prescribing mind-stimulants for healthy teens and kids is not justified for developmental and legal reasons. Administration of amphetamines to kids can have a devastating affect on their mood, brain, rational thinking abilities and so on.

Almut Winterstein, pharmacy researcher from University of Florida agreed with the study and said that since not much is yet known about ill-effects of administering stimulants for long-term, they should be prescribed only when found essential for a particular child. Short-term effects of stimulants include increase in blood-pressure and heart-rate.

Wintwestein added that it is unnecessary to administer stimulants to kids who can sit still for a while and who do not have trouble focusing on a given task. The findings of the study are endorsed by American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society. 

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