Doctors Prescribing Anti-Depressants to 6-Year olds!

It is high time we put pressure on the medical fraternity to explain their actions.  I am no expert, but the increase in prescriptions of anti-depressants to kids as young as 6 seems highly irresponsible.  What on earth do these kids suffer from that warrants prescribing such medication?  How can we sit idly while Governments pretend to investigate the boom in child anti-depressant prescriptions, whilst quietly doing absolutely nothing to deal with the problem?

THE number of children aged six and under being prescribed anti-depressants has soared since the Federal Government pledged to investigate the matter in 2008, new figures show.

The Herald Sun can also reveal that in the past two years, the deaths of five people aged 10-19 have been linked to anti-depressants. Federal Health Department data reveal prescribing rates of the controversial drugs in children aged two to six has risen from 852 in 2007-08 to 1264 in 2009-10.

In Victoria, the number has increased from 156 to 229, and, in the past two years, in the 7-11 age group, from 825 to 1085.

The Government has refused to release details on children under two since 2007-08, claiming the figures are unreliable.

But despite Health Minister Nicola Roxon’s ordering of an investigation three years ago, a Freedom of Information request shows just two meetings were held. 

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists said it was alarming that anti-depressants were being prescribed for children and demanded answers from government.

“I would be very very alarmed if these figures were true,” said Dr Phillip Brock, chairman of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry faculty.

Australian Medical Association vice-president Dr Steve Hambleton said he had given anti-depressant scripts for two six-year-olds, and they had benefited.

A Health Department spokesman said the management of a child’s medical condition, including prescribing anti-depressants, was a doctor’s clinical decision.

The figures show Zoloft and Prozac were among the most prescribed of the drugs in the youngest age group.

Black Dog Institute director Professor Gordon Parker said while not all anti-depressants were used for depressive disorders in children, an investigation was needed to explore why they were being prescribed.

Are the Drug Companies giving substantial donations to the Government?  Is the medical fraternity happy with the reputation they are getting of treating children with prescription drugs before they reach the age of being able to read or write?  What’s next?  Are babies going to be prescribed anti-depressants?

Emeritus Professor John Werry, a child psychiatrist, expressed another opinion – as far as he knows giving SSRI antidepressants to babies would be of no harm to them. However, he acknowledged the medications influence basic bio-cyclic processes.

Does anyone else find this as disturbing as I do?


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4 Responses to “Doctors Prescribing Anti-Depressants to 6-Year olds!”

  1. Colline Says:

    I find it disturbing as well: surely there are other solutions to try before making our youth drug dependant?

  2. J Roycroft Says:

    There is no conclusive fact based scientific, medical or otherwise that ADD or ADHD is a “disease” or even a legitimate illness. I am so sick of educators using it for an excuse to encourage and sometimes demand that some children be drugged in class. The pharmaceutical companies are getting very rich off parents who choose to drug their children instead of understanding them. Most of these kids are bored. It’s been proven that if you place a child that has been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD in front of a video game, their symptoms magically disappear. The game demands their attention. They are no longer bored.

  3. Peter Ryan Says:

    I am a highly qualified and experienced therapeutic counsellor working in private practice it is because of the politics of pain and profit that the innocent are drugged up.

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