TO SEE 'SPECIAL NEWS REPORT' WHICH LASTS 10 MINUTES CLICK ON LINK ABOVE OR ON TITLE AND IT INCLUDES STATEMENTS FROM AEP AND NUT SUPPORTING CALL FOR A NATIONAL REVIEW OF PSYCHOTROPIC DRUGS FOR CHILDREN IN THE U.K.
DUE TO THE RISKS OF TOXICITY IN CHILDRENS' DEVELOPING BRAINS.
Monday 06 June 2011
Children under the age of six are being dosed with drugs for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - ADHD - against all national guidelines, Channel 4 News learns.
ADHD drugs are being prescribed in greater numbers and to under 6
Experts have told us the numbers are growing, with estimates of "thousands" of children in Britain being prescribed drugs such as Ritalin.
|Exponential Growth of Stimulant Prescriptions.
On Monday, the Association of Educational Psychologists, backed by the British Psychological Society and the National Union of Teachers, called for an urgent review.
|KATE FALLON - AEP.
Kate Fallon, General Secretary of the AEP, said: "We are calling for an urgent national review of the use of psychotropic drugs, like Ritalin, and how they are being used, because we are concerned about the long-term effects on children's brains."
|Methylphenidate and Cocaine affect the same areas of a child's developing brain.
Most of the drugs for ADHD work in a similar way by easing the symptoms, which include inability to concentrate, hyperactivity and impulsivity. In many cases, they work effectively. But figures obtained by Channel 4 News show a massive increase in the amount of ADHD medicine being prescribed in Britain.
Massive increase in ADHD prescriptions
Five years ago, 389,000 prescriptions were handed out by doctors. By last year that figure had nearly doubled.
But what we have also learned is that these drugs are increasingly being given to children under the age of six. This is against both the guidelines issued by the manufacturers and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
Nicholas Hanney, of Sandwell in the West Midlands, said that his son Kenneth was first prescribed a psychotropic drug when he was five. Kenneth was not offered counselling or therapy before he was given the drugs, which again is against all national guidelines.
Dave Traxson, an educational psychologist for more than 30 years in the West Midlands, said that 10 years ago he was not aware of children under six being prescribed these drugs but now it a a reasonably regular occurrence which is against N.I.C.E. guidelines.
We spoke to Darren Hucknall, whose son Harry hanged himself last year when he was just 10 years old. Harry had been prescribed Prozac for depression and Ritalin for ADHD.
His devastated father told Channel 4 News that his son had "managed OK" before being put on these drugs and that he had gone to the doctor to ask why he had given Harry this prescription. At the inquest in March he asked the doctor again why this had happened.The coroner questioned why young children were being prescribed these drug 'cocktails.'
"He told me my son had a chemical brain imbalance. And I said how do you know? Did you take chemicals from his brain?" he said.
The coroner later said that it was difficult to know whether the drugs had contributed to Harry's death, but he strongly queried the wisdom of prescribing these drugs to such young children.
|DANGER - U.S. FEDERAL DRUG AGENCY ISSUES HIGHEST LEVEL "BLACK BOX WARNING" DUE TO REPORTED CASES OF SUDDEN HEART FAILURE AND DEATH.
Mr Hucknall stated powerfully that "as far as I am aware no child has died suddenly from ADHD but my son is now in a coffin due to the medications he took."
EVIDENCE FROM U.S. ABOUT STIMULANTS FOR UNDER SIXES:
Julie Zito, associate professor of pharmacy and psychiatry at the University of Maryland, who reported in 2000 that preschool children as young as 2 to 4 years old were increasingly being prescribed stimulants (JAMA 2000;283:1025-30), said that the rise in the use of stimulant drugs is probably due to many factors, including wider diagnostic criteria(DSM4 - 5), direct to consumer advertising, and advocacy for ADHD on very persuasive websites .
|PRESCRIBING STIMULANTS TO UNDER 6S CAN ENDANGER THEIR LIVES.
Some of you may remember the tragic death in 2006 of Rebecca Riley, a four-year-old Boston girl who died from an overdose of psychotropic drugs prescribed for ADHD and “Pediatric Bipolar Disorder” Diagnosed at 28 months old, Rebecca was taking ten pills a day.
Surely this is an anomaly- an exception not the rule. Not according to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry!
Researchers examined insurance data of over a million children, finding that between 1999 and 2007 the use of antipsychotics in children doubled for the preschool aged kids (2-5 years). Some states had Medicaid records showing infants less than a year old on drugs for mental disorders!
The diagnostic guidelines have changed for illnesses like Bipolar Disorder. Aggressive drug marketing campaigns have been assaulting parents. If you are thinking that this is due to better detection of problems already present, and not a sudden increase in parents asking doctors to over prescribe chemical restraints for kids they can’t handle, the data present a more likely story:
Fewer than half of drug treated children received a mental health assessment (40.8%), a psychotherapy visit (41.4%), or a visit with a psychiatrist (42.6%) during the year of antipsychotic use. So more than half of these kids are being prescribed these drugs by professionals who aren’t necessarily qualified to diagnose them.
While it can be argued that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice that a gradeschooler has symptoms of ADHD, retardation, or “disruptive behavior disorder,” (these disorders made up about 65% of the diagnoses) making that determination for very young children should only be done by an expert. If there is not a consensus among even the experts as to when signs of Bipolar Disorder can even begin in children, shouldn’t doctors be erring on the side of caution by not prescribing psychotropic drugs to infants and toddlers?
For one thing, the brains of children from infancy to around age 5 are very malleable. A basic framework is being formed as the neurons react to inside chemicals and outside stimulus. Certainly the chemical bath of antipsychotic meds must have an effect on this process.
Granted, the brain of a kid with ADHD or these other disorders may already be imbalanced, and perhaps this psychotropic cocktail could have a positive effect. If your kid is having insane mood swings and anger outbursts due to bipolar disorder (cases of which have doubled over the past decade) a weary parent might be all too happy to look for the answer in a pill.
And the pharmaceutical companies are more than happy to provide it- to the tune of 14.6 billion dollars in 2009- more than cholesterol and heartburn drugs combined. When the motive for medicating is profit, there is no hurry or need to find a cure. Treating the symptoms is the only way, with drugs having to be taken every day for the rest of a patient’s life.
More disturbing facts:
A recent report in the St Petersburg Times that found 23 infants less than one-year-old had been prescribed antipsychotics in Florida in 2007.
Seroquel, an antipsychotic used to treat schizophrenia (which is about as bad as it gets crazy-wise) is soon to be marketed as an alternative therapy for anxiety and depression!
Poor kids are more likely to get the meds. A Government funded study in 2009 found that more than 4% of children in Medicaid programs received antipsychotics, compared to less than 1% of kids with private insurance. Most of these prescriptions were for ADHD.
Since 1987, the number of kids on SSI/ disability rolls due to severe mental illness has increased more than 35 fold. (your tax dollars are paying the tab)
Could the epidemic rise in disability due to mental illness have been fueled by a drug-based paradigm of care? Or, more likely, by hyper insistent drug marketing with Big Pharma’s bottom line as the biggest contributing factor? Or is it just that we are getting better at diagnosing these problems?
Surely as the standards of psychiatry advances, other countries should also be seeing similar diagnostic rates. But this is not the case. Dr Peter Parry, a consultant child & adolescent psychiatrist, surveyed psychiatrists in Australia and New Zealand, finding 90.5% (of 199) of them thought bipolar disorder was overdiagnosed in American children.
Dr Parry reports that since “the mid-1990s in the USA, some researchers have claimed that Pediatric Bipolar Disorder (PBD) frequently starts prior to puberty.”
One of PBD’s main proponents, Harvard University’s Professor Joseph Biederman, stating onset “is squarely in the preschooler age group,” he notes.
Parry explains that “PBD has been created by moving the diagnostic goalposts away from traditional concepts of bipolar disorder.”
“In children,” he says, “episodes were redefined to last hours instead of days or weeks and, instead of manic elation, severe anger in children sufficed as mania.”
“Unlike diagnoses like ADHD or depression, or simply accepting a child has serious emotional and behavioural problems in reaction to various stressors, PBD implies a lifelong severe mental illness requiring of strong psychiatric medication,” Parry warns.
“In the USA,” he says, “the public is furthermore exposed to direct pharmaceutical advertising that can feed the natural desire parents of distressed and aggressive children have for a quick solution by suggesting a simple medication fix.”
So drug the kid early, drug them for life. Long-term use of antipsychotics has been shown to lower life expectancy, cause fundamental structural changes in the brain itself, and in 40-50% of patients, metabolic syndrome.
Just what is metabolic syndrome? Basically a person becomes a walking diabetic heart attack waiting to happen. Abdominal fat increases, bad cholesterol goes up, cardiovascular issues and the body stops being able to process glucose properly (insulin issues). Of course a “lifestyle change” isn’t going to help these people who have been on antipsychotics since childhood, and must stay on them. For all of their shortened lives!
"Harry Hucknall death was not suicide, rules coroner" - COURTESY OF YOUNGMINDS WEBSITE
The cousin of singer Mick Hucknall did not commit suicide following bullying, finds inquest.
A 10-year-old boy did not understand what he was doing when he hanged himself in his bedroom, a coroner ruled last week.
Harry Hucknall, the cousin of Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall, had suffered at the hands of bullies but did not commit suicide, an inquest into his death was told.
The hearing was told that Harry had been diagnosed with clinical depression and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and was prescribed the anti-depressant drug fluoextine and Ritalin. He had also self-harmed.
Coroner Ian Smith said the bullying had led to self-harming and it was difficult to say how the drugs affected Harry’s state of mind and their influence could not be excluded.
The levels of both drugs found in his system were above the normal therapeutic level for adults.
Mr Smith said he did not criticise their prescription in Harry's circumstances, nor did he argue that the drugs should not be used by children, but he pointed out that doctors must be "extremely careful" in prescribing powerful drugs to 10-year-olds.
“This was not suicide for one minute. I record that Harry died as a consequence of his own actions without understanding their true consequences,” said Mr Smith. “Nobody expected this to happen or foresee it or even fear it may happen.”