Some doctors seem obssessd with prescribing ADHD pills to youngsters. Are we really to believe that the disorder is as rampant as the prescription numbers lead us to believe?
MORE than a fifth of school psychologists in England know of children under the age of six who have been prescribed ADHD drugs to treat behavioural problems despite it being against health guidelines, a study has found.
HEALTH services are being pressured into offering the mind-altering drugs to preschool children because of a lack of psychologists available to offer intervention first, one of the lead researchers said.
The study, to be published in full next year and carried out by the University College London Institute of Education and the British Psychological Society, raised concerns that diagnosing ADHD was seen as an “easy explanation” for behavioural problems which absolves families and schools of blame. It added that some educational psychologists feared there is “an increasingly prevalent view in society that people who do not fit a particular environment must have something wrong with them”. In its latest advice, independent health advisory body the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says drug treatment is “not recommended for pre-school children with ADHD”. But 22 per cent of educational psychologists working in primary schools in England told researchers they were aware of children who were already on medication by the time they were seen by a psychologist. Vivian Hill, director of professional educational psychology training at the institute who helped conduct the research, said: “The huge cuts have meant that people really feel under pressure to offer drugs when they can’t offer long-term interventions. “It really is quite a significant threat to our children and young people. It’s a naive gesture to thinking the quick-fix solution is dealing with the problem – it’s just masking it. “Some of children are living in very difficult family situations and the behaviour is a consequence of that. “If you were to unravel the nature of the child’s behavioural problems, 9/10 times you find it is because of significant factors in the child’s life and is really irrespective of any pathological undercurrent.” She added that in many cases children who are treated by psychologists first do not need to progress to medication.
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