Data released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday is showing that over 10,000 children between the ages of 2 and 3-years-old are currently being medicated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in the United States.
The report also shows that many of the children’s medication is covered by Medicaid, which has led to speculation that some of the toddlers may be falsely diagnosed.
The report, which found that toddlers covered by Medicaid are particularly prone to be put on medication such as Ritalin and Adderall, is among the first efforts to gauge the diagnosis of A.D.H.D. in children below age 4. Doctors at the Georgia Mental Health Forum at the Carter Center in Atlanta, where the data was presented, as well as several outside experts strongly criticized the use of medication in so many children that young.
Pediatrician Dr. Lawrence H. Diller spoke to the New York Times about the dangers of children getting ADHD medication at such a young age.
“People prescribing to 2-year-olds are just winging it. It is outside the standard of care, and they should be subject to malpractice if something goes wrong with a kid.”
Children who have shown possible behaviors associated with ADHD have been prescribed Ritalin and Adderall, which can trigger negative effects like insomnia, hallucinations and growth suppression. Another pediatrician, Dr. Doris Greenberg, shared Diller’s views.
“Some of these kids are having really legitimate problems,” Dr. Greenberg said. “But you also have overwhelmed parents who can’t cope and the doctor prescribes as a knee-jerk reaction. You have children with depression or anxiety who can present the same way, and these medications can just make those problems worse.”
Parents and teachers are encouraging students to think twice before medicating their children.
SOURCE: New York Times | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty