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TOPIC: Be Cautious of Mind-Altering Drugs For Kids

Be Cautious of Mind-Altering Drugs For Kids 14 Mar 2013 21:30 #68

Be Cautious of Mind-Altering Drugs For Kids: doctors
Posted March 13, 2013 by Genevra Pittman

(Reuters Health) - Doctors warn about the ethical and medical implications of prescribing attention-boosting and mood-altering medications to healthy kids and teens, in a new statement from the American Academy of Neurology.

Focusing on stimulants typically used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, researchers said the number of diagnoses and prescriptions have risen dramatically over the past two decades.

Young people with the disorder clearly benefit from treatment, lead author Dr. William Graf emphasized, but the medicines are increasingly being used by healthy youth who believe they will enhance their concentration and performance in school.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1.7 percent of eighth graders and 7.6 percent of 12th graders have used Adderall, a stimulant, for nonmedical reasons.

Some of those misused medicines are bought on the street or from peers with prescriptions; others may be obtained legally from doctors.

"What we're saying is that because of the volume of drugs and the incredible increase… the possibility of overdiagnosis and overtreatment is clearly there," said Graf, from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

In their statement, published in the journal Neurology, he and his colleagues say doctors should not give prescriptions to teens who ask for medication to enhance concentration against their parents' advice.

Prescribing attention- or mood-enhancing drugs to healthy kids and teens in general cannot be justified, for both legal and developmental reasons, Graf and his co-authors conclude.

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Continue reading: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/13/us-medications-kids-idUSBRE92C17H20130313
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