Assignment 3: Persuasive Paper Part 1: A Problem Exists
Professor Robyn Eakloff
English 215: Research and Writing
May 10, 2015
Section One: Title and Interesting Opening
Changing Regulations For Mental Health Drugs For Minors
Changes need to be made to regulations for mental health drugs for minors. Parents need to get a second and third opinion before putting their children on mental illness drugs. There are safe, alternative methods of treatment for children and teens suffering with behavioral problems and mental disorders. This is an ongoing topic of serious debate due to antipsychotic drugs becoming part of a trend in child psychiatry. In the U.S. alone, 8.4 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD(attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), and more than half of them take prescription drugs. There are no medical tests that prove ADHD or any other mental disorder for which millions of children are being diagnosed and drugged is based on physical abnormality, brain dysfunction, chemical imbalance or genetic abnormality. Anyone can meet the criteria for having a mental disorder or ADHD. Children are being drugged because they do not pay attention, will not listen and are too active. Behaviors should not be treated like diseases. Drugs should not be prescribed like medication.
Section Two and Three: History and Overview
In the 1990's, the FDA approved the use of mental illness drugs, or antipsychotics to treat adults with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe depression. Today, the same drugs are being prescribed to children as young as 4 years old diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), aggression and other behavioral problems. Methylphenidate hydrochloride (Ritalin) is the most commonly prescribed medication, but its use in children 4 years old hasn’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration(Smith, 2015). Ritalin is classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule II narcotic, which is in the same classification as cocaine, morphine and amphetamines (DEA, 2005). Aripiprazole, known as Abilify, is the only drug that is officially approved for use in children and only for the treatment of schizophrenia in teenagers 15 to 17 years of age. Off-label drugs are pharmaceutical drugs that have not been approved by the FDA and has not been tested on children. Off-label antipsychotics: Clozapine, Risperidone, Olanzapine, Quetiapine, Paliperidone, Ziprasidone and Aripiprazole have serious, long-term side effects such as obesity, diabetes, weight gain, high cholesterol, movement disorders, insomnia, seizures, cardiac arrhythmias, neurological disorders, violence, suicidal thoughts and death. The major portion of the sales of these types psychiatric drugs come from off-label uses. Drugs such as Seroquel, Zyprexa, Risperdal and Abilify are now increasingly prescribed by pediatricians and primary-care doctors, instead of child psychiatrists to treat mental health conditions in children without a thorough assessment. Section Four: Problem One These strong, mind-altering antipsychotics were not made for children nor for the disorders and illnesses they are being used for. Many doctors say these drugs pose grave risks to the development of children's fast-growing brains and their bodies. Doctors can legally prescribe them for off-label use, including in preschoolers, even though research has not shown them to be safe or effective for children. This lack of knowledge has a potential for harm. Many suffer serious, long-term side effects such as growth problems, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, hallucinations, violence, mania, homicide, aggression, depression, suicide and death. In 2000, the Food and Drug administration (FDA) received reports of at least 10 children dying and at...
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