Stimulant Drugs for Children? A Ridiculous Concept

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare

It has always been amazing to me how doctors can prescribe a myriad of psychoactive drugs that have neither been properly studied nor proved to be effective. Antidepressant medications such as SSRI’s have never been shown to be very effective at treating patients from depression– in fact, they are little or no better than placebos. Furthermore, every study that has compared exercise to antidepressant therapy has found exercise to be much more effective. I discussed this phenomenon in my book,

An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal (6.17.13) was titled, “A Nation of Kids on Speed.” This article was written by Drs. Cohen and Rasmusson. In this illuminating article, they describe the history of amphetamines. Examples of present-day amphetamines include best-selling drugs Ritalin and Adderall. Amphetamines were initially prescribed in the early 20th Century as antidepressants and weight loss aids. The authors of the WSJ article point out that, “Decades would pass until research demonstrated the lack of long-term benefit for most cases of depression and weight loss, but the lack of proof didn’t hold doctors back from liberally prescribing stimulants to millions of housewives in postwar suburbs.” In fact, by 1969, doctors were prescribing the equivalent of 120mg of amphetamine for each American. It wasn’t until the Controlled Substances Act of 1971, which mandated stimulant prescriptions would be classified as Scheduled II drugs and each prescription written by a doctor had to be reported, that the number of stimulant prescriptions began to fall.

You would have thought that the medical profession would have learned its lesson – that stimulant drugs were dangerous. However, keep in mind that we are dealing with Big Pharma here. In the late 1980’s, Big Pharma found a new avenue for stimulant drugs. They began promoting stimulate use for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. A short time later, stimulants began to be prescribed in ever-increasing numbers. Parents were reassured that childhood stimulant use would not result in adverse effects such as future drug abuse. However, there were no studiesand there still are no studies that prove or disprove this claim about childhood stimulant use. Keep in mind, nearly 10% of U.S. children are diagnosed with ADHD and millions are taking ADHD stimulant medications now.

The authors of the WSJ article point out that “…the only randomized trial to study future substance abuse by ADHD kids refuted the notion that stimulants, when taken in childhood, have a protective effect. {Instead}, investigators found strong evidence that ADHD itself in fact predisposes children to later substance abuse but no evidence that stimulant medication reduces this rate any better than treating ADHD with behavioral approaches.”

Read the rest of the article

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare
  • LRC Blog

  • LRC Podcasts