Monday, January 30, 2012

Drug Therapy and Children

Note: This article was published in March of 1971. Has anything changed, other than the increased use of drugs with children (2012)?

Quote: “Last July on the floor of the House of Representatives a member expressed his deep concern over the use of behavior modification drugs with children described as ‘hyperactive.’ (Newsweek, 1970). The immediate stimulus for this protest was a newspaper report that drug stimulants such as amphetamines were being administered to 2,000 to 6,000 public school children in Omaha.”

Quote: “Amphetamines and dextro-amphetamines are widely used as stimulants or antidepressants by adults. However, over thirty years ago, Bradley (1937) reported the paradoxical finding  that Benzedrine, an amphetamine, tended to calm hyperactive distractible children, rather than stimulate them as it did adults.”

Quote: “Since that time an extensive body of literature has been produced dealing with psychopharmacological research with children. Much of this research has been carried out with children reported as having learning difficulties and behavior problems which impede their progress in school or disrupt their life at home.” 561.

Quote: “While the few better-controlled studies suggest that some drugs may be useful in reducing anxiety and improving attention and concentration for some children with certain types of learning and behavior disorders, the evidence is certainly not yet conclusive. As pointed out above, many questions remain unanswered. Given the present state of knowledge, comprehensive programs involving parents and teachers, combined with appropriate psychotherapy and remedial education, would seem to be in the best interests of these children.” P. 563.

Comment: I remember reading in a book entitled Selling Sickness, the authors made it clear that medications are appropriate for some few people, but not for many and should not be prescribed indiscriminately, for example, with high blood pressure. The authors’ conclusion was that the pharmacological companies are “selling sickness,” increasing the number of patients to increase profits.” The same is probably true for children. The first choice for children with problems of hyperactivity and autism, should not be drugs. RayS.

Title: “Research: Drug Therapy and Learning in Children.” J Wesley Schneyer. The Reading Teacher (March 1971), 561/563.

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