Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Big Pharma and psychiatrists put children of the poor on drugs

From "The Illusions of Psychiatry," by Marcia Angell, The New York Review of Books:

"...The pharmaceutical industry influences psychiatrists to prescribe psychoactive drugs even for categories of patients in whom the drugs have not been found safe and effective. What should be of greatest concern for Americans is the astonishing rise in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in children, sometimes as young as two years old. These children are often treated with drugs that were never approved by the FDA for use in this age group and have serious side effects. The apparent prevalence of  'juvenile bipolar disorder' jumped forty-fold between 1993 and 2004, and that of  'autism' increased from one in five hundred children to one in ninety over the same decade. Ten percent of ten-year-old boys now take daily stimulants for ADHD—'attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder'—and 500,000 children take antipsychotic drugs...

Growing numbers of for-profit firms specialize in helping poor families apply for SSI benefits. But to qualify nearly always requires that applicants, including children, be taking psychoactive drugs. According to a New York Times story, a Rutgers University study found that children from low-income families are four times as likely as privately insured children to receive antipsychotic medicines..."

Earlier post on the subject


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