US Kids Three Times Likelier to be Medicated than in Europe: Study
Jim LiebeltJim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
- 2008 Sep 25
Youngsters in the United States are three times likelier to be prescribed antidepressants and stimulants and twice as likely to be given antipsychotic drugs than counterparts in Germany and the Netherlands, according to a new study.
The use of antidepressants and stimulants such as Prozac and Ritalin to treat hyperactivity, attention deficit and bipolar disorders in teenagers and young children has become a subject of sharp controversy.
Proponents say these powerful drugs, known as psychotropics, target newly identified conditions that were undertreated or misdiagnosed in the past.
Critics say the medications are being used too broadly, addressing behavioral problems that should be tackled by softer therapies.
One in 12 of American children aged five to nine were taking these medications, four times the European levels.
Seeking explanations for the disparity on either side of the Atlantic, the study noted that direct-to-consumer drug advertising was allowed in the United States, but banned in Europe.
Cultural differences could also play a role, they suggest.