February 20, 2015

"Why Are So Many Toddlers Taking Psychiatric Drugs?"

"An analysis of 2013 IMS Data, found that over 274,000 infants (0-1 year olds) and some 370,000 toddlers (1-3 years age) in the U.S. were on antianxiety (e.g. Xanax) and antidepressant (e.g. Prozac) drugs. This report also found over 1,400 infants were on ADHD drugs."

48 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Huxley's Brave New World is here.

Paddy O said...

At least that's who the drugs are prescribed to.

Farmer said...

I haven't even clicked on the link but I believe this is total and complete bullshit.

Meade said...

Doc, do you have a pill for a boy crazy six year-old daughter of lesbian moms?

Bob Boyd said...

The new approach to boy craziness is drugging all the boys.

Farmer said...

I'm pretty sure you'd get your medical license taken away for prescribing benzodiazepines or SSRI's to an infant.

Meade said...

Gateway drugs. Soon they'll be hitting the hard stuff — candy.

acm said...

They're not. The parents want (maybe occasionally need) the drugs, but the kids are the ones with Medicaid/CHIP coverage.

Chuck said...

Current toddlers have never known any U.S. President but Obama.

I'd want a Zooloft for that.

sinz52 said...

Mad TV satirized this years ago, with a takeoff on Schoolhouse Rock's famous "Conjunction Junction":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6d2NNmNeBM

RecChief said...

why are so many parents willing to give their children drugs in the first place?

richard mcenroe said...

I'll just keep on fidget in'
'Til I get my Ritalin,
I'm poppin' and sail in', man!
*toot toot!*

-- B. Simpson

madAsHell said...

why are so many parents willing to give their children drugs in the first place?

Corporal punishment is frowned upon, but stoning your child....

Michael K said...

" 249,669 0-1 year olds are on anti-anxiety drugs(such as Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan)."

This is exceedingly dangerous and it sounds like sedation is being used for infants and small children.

It would be interesting to see the demographics, sex and location by census tract.

Rob said...

I wonder what the correlation is between medicating infants and toddlers for ADHD and their parents applying for SSI payments. Follow the money.

buwaya said...

"It would be interesting to see the demographics, sex and location by census tract."

Yes it would.
I have my suspicions but data is needed.

Freeman Hunt said...

That would be about 7% of infants, yes?

File under "Things Not Believed."

n.n said...

A government-approved choice to suppress a basket of symptoms and syndromes aplenty that prevent mothers and fathers, and other guardians, from following the secular profits of wealth, pleasure, and leisure, and that generally make life unpleasant.

madAsHell said...

There's also the....

"I'm not a bad parent, but my child needs psychiatric help."

"My child is special, and needs drugs. What makes your child special?"

Fernandinande said...

"Oh my crazy baby
Try to hold on tight
Oh my crazy baby
Don't put out the light
The light, the light, the light."

wildswan said...

"why are so many parents willing to give their children drugs in the first place?"

I believe that it's because so many young kids, even infants, are in day care. If they cry a lot or misbehave then either they get drugs or they get put out of day care. Working mothers can't afford to have their kids out of day care so --- drugs.

A busy day care worker can't really handle frequent tantrums and can never do all a mom might do on her own every day for her own child.

David said...

Because the parents are crazy.

CatherineM said...

Medicaid recipients? I bet this is the parents getting RX drugs via their kids insurance. I don't see how else this is happening

SteveR said...

I don't believe it either, not that it doesn't happen to some extent, which is bad enough.

chickelit said...

I think wildswan is correct.

Fritz said...

Michael K said...
" 249,669 0-1 year olds are on anti-anxiety drugs(such as Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan)."


Be very suspicious of any statistics that claim 6 digit accuracy.

Tank said...

A mix of wildswan with a bit of David?

Mary Beth said...

Let's just bring back laudanum. It will keep all of the children placid and manageable. /s

Birches said...

Toddlers in the welfare system and those in foster homes are particularly vulnerable to receive drugs for behavior control. Had he lived today in a foster home, Dennis the Menace would probably have met criteria for Oppositional disorder, Temper Dysregulation Disorder, ADHD and/or Bipolar, and forced to take multiple drugs!

Wildswan is right.

My 7 month old is one of the most engaging and happy infants around. People stop me to tell me how happy he is and how much they enjoy seeing him smile. Sometimes I feel a little guilty on his behalf, because I have the time to love him and care for him and there are so many other infants in this world that spend their days with no adults engaging with them.

Bob R said...

Things to remember:

1. The numbers are "extrapolations."

2. People go into journalism because they have bad math skills.

3. It's not clear what population they are being compared to (which is why we are being given gross numbers rather than percentages.)

4. A lot (1-2% of infants is a lot of kids) of kids are born with severe mental birth defects and a lot of problems. I have no idea what is the right treatment. But I've known a lot of parents struggling with this and I'm not going to judge their choice of medication. Volunteer to help with your local intellectual disabilities group if you think you have the answers to all the world's problems.

Laslo Spatula said...

If you don't feed toddlers drugs how can you have sex with them?

That's what I got out of it.


I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

Note: I do not condone having sex with toddlers.

Nor having sex with people named "Todd."

Sorry, Todds of America.


I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

Name a rock star named Todd.

Other than Todd Rundgren.

Then argue whether Todd Rundgren is actually a 'rock star'.

I am open to alternative viewpoints. Other than toddler-fucking, that is.

Shameful.


I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

To clarify: I think it is wrong to give toddlers Viagra.

I got out of bed to make this point.


I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

AMY: Are you wearing baby powder?

SHELDON: It's talc. But since that's the primary ingredient of baby powder, I understand your confusion.

AMY: Oh, I'm not confused at all. You're like a sexy toddler.

Note that I actually haven't seen this show, I just found the reference by Googling 'sexy toddler' I am sure the authorities have been notified.


I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

I won't tell you what I Googled to end up here.

I am Laslo.

Freeman Hunt said...

I know a whole of lot people with special needs kids, and I have never heard of putting a baby on anti-anxiety medication. That's ridiculous.

Carl Pham said...

There are only approximately 1 million infants in the US, so if 275,000 of them were really on prescription mood-disorder drugs, that would be more than 1 of every 4 infants.

Does that strike any normal-thinking person as the least bit plausible? Of the infants you know personally, do you find it plausible that 1 of every 4 is on prescription antianxiety meds? If 1 of every 4 infants is on these drugs, and we expect the rate of prescription to be even higher for the less controversial use in adults, that would imply that more than 1 of every 4 people in the US is on prescription psychiatric meds. Their use would dwarf the most profitable drugs known, the statins, or even how many people take aspirin or a multivitamin daily. Starting to laugh yet?

It always impresses me how credulous and innumerate journalists are. Only a wee bit of back o' the envelope figuring would suggest to anyone who passed 7th grade algebra that some gimlet-eyed skeptical fact-checking of those numbers is in order.

Bricap said...

Todd Park Mohr of Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Quite ashamed I haven't taken "That's Life" and extrapolated.

Any Democrat that thinks "That's Life" you got another thing coming.

Mark said...

Carl, there were just under 4 million births in 2013. How do you end up with only 1 million infants?

If you are challenging the numbers, wouldn't spending 20 seconds with Google make sense so you don't do the same?

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr64/nvsr64_01.pdf

Mark Caplan said...

If you take a few seconds on the Internet to track down the source of those incredible statistics, you get to a Scientology group, namely, the Citizen Commission on Human Rights International. Scientologists are hostile to drug therapy for mental disorders, so they have a motive to grossly exaggerate or even fabricate statistics on medication rates for infants and toddlers.

tim maguire said...

My guess is, two themes in this thread have captured most of it. First, it's mostly not true. Instead, poor parents without insurance are self-medicating through the government programs available to their kids. Second, to the extent that it is true, it's mostly about drugging kids who are "a handful" for the daycare workers because we don't raise children within the family anymore.

James Pawlak said...

Greedy MDs & crazy parents.

acm said...

Thanks for tracking that down, Mark Caplan. Now it makes sense.

This same anti-science group is the source of the claim (which I've seen well-meaning conservatives repeat on the internet many times) that all the recent big-name mass shooters (Lanza, Loughner, Holmes, Cho and the rest) were on ADHD drugs. They weren't. The refusal of the shooters or their parents to seek psychiatric care is much more likely the cause of the problem, at least in the cases of Lanza and Loughner.

Francisco D said...

As a clinical psychologist in a large practice, I find the extrapolations hard to believe. I work with several child therapists, a child psychiatrist and an ARNP who prescribes for children and adults. There is no way in the world that they would advocate or prescribe SSRIs, Benzos, or anti-psychotics to infants. It is grossly unethical and would spur other professionals to make a licensing board complaint.

It is very hard to diagnose aberrant behavior by infants. A good bet is that poor parenting is the root cause.

CatherineM said...

Mark Caplan - I noticed that too. On their site (I didn't realize it was Scientology, but knew it was a kook site) they don't provide links to CDC supposed research, but the WSJ seemed to quote CDC, but it's a blog...so I didn't want to call it out as WSJ stamp made me think there was more to this, but I agree. Reminds me of a friend's post on face book that claimed the NIH was against breastfeeding. I thought that's odd and sure enough the link went to some kooky "natural" site about the conspiracy of big pharma and big formula in bed with the government. I went to NIH, found their paper supporting breastfeeding, posted it in response and said to the friend, "I hope this is a lesson to you about trusting such accusations."

Francisco D said...

Thanks Mark, for doing the research.

The internet is great for getting information, but some of it is complete BS. We all need to be more diligent about investigating the source.