Prescription Drugs - http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/children-and-prescription-drugs/
February 2, 2010
Prescription medication can manage many serious medical and mental illnesses. But if not handled properly, it can also be the cause of just as many and more problems because of side effects, misuse and abuse, and addiction. Unfortunately, children are often the ones who suffer the long-term consequences from prescription drugs.
Mental Illness and Mental Disorders
Many children today are prescribed drugs for mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and autism. For many of these children with severe mental illness, the drugs are a necessity for them to get through the day, even if they have side effects.
Many more children are prescribed drugs for lesser mental disorders, such as Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, and sleep disorders. While all these things can disrupt a child’s life and should be treated, it is important for physicians and parents to avoid relying strictly on meds to manage these disorders. Therapy and counseling, as well as stress management, can all benefit children with mental disorders. The problem occurs when children are put on these drugs without properly being diagnosed, or without really being monitored when on them. Any child on any medication should be watched closely.
Children are also put on medication for injuries or pain. Prescription painkillers are not uncommon in young adults for things like sports injuries, surgery, or some other pain. Children that are on prescription medication may be at risk for abusing drugs when they get older. These young patients see the drugs as something that fixes something wrong in their life, and they don’t understand why the same wouldn’t be true of other drugs at other times in their lives. When a person is exposed at a young age to prolonged use of prescription drugs, it begins to be less intimidating and more normal for someone to take them.
Prescription Drug Abuse
Children eventually get to an age where they know a little more about what is going on, and maybe they see their friends experiment with drugs. It is at this time that many of these young people join right in because from their past experience, prescription drugs took care of problems. They may also begin to self-medicate when things get tough at school or with friends. Or they might begin selling their own pills to get a little extra money.
There are things we can do to stop this cycle of prescription medication abuse. Children who have a mental disorder or are in need of pain medications should be completely evaluated to determine the need. When a doctor prescribes a medicine, it should be with great care. Proper dosing, proper education, and proper monitoring are necessary. Parents should be involved and taught to look for warning signs of drug abuse, and children should go through therapy to learn other ways to manage their problem or disorder, in order to decrease the need for medication.