Why Are So Many Foster Care Children Taking Antipsychotics?
By Maia Szalavitz Tuesday, November 29, 2011
More than 8% of children in foster care have received antipsychotic medication, and just over one quarter of those in foster care who also receive disability benefits take these drugs, according to a recent study in the journal Pediatrics.
The question is why? Children in foster care have typically been neglected or abused — indeed, simply removing a young child from his or her parents, even abusive ones, is in itself traumatic — so, not surprisingly, kids in foster care are more likely to suffer from psychiatric and behavioral problems than those who have stable families. Previous data suggest that foster-care children are about twice as likely as those outside the system to receive psychiatric medications.
Whether these problems are leading to higher rates of antipsychotic use, however, is not clear. "I think we have clinicians facing some very challenging situations," says Susan dosReis, associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and lead author of the study. "But we don't have information as to why the prescribers decided on these medications for [these particular] youths."
Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2011/11/29/why-are-so-many-foster-care-children-taking-antipsychotics/#ixzz1fDxPAror