Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study examines psychotropic medication use among U.S. adolescents with mental disorders

Date:
December 3, 2012
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
A survey finds that 14.2 percent of adolescents ages 13 to 18 years with any mental disorder reported being treated with a psychotropic medication in the last 12 months, which researchers suggest challenges concerns about widespread overmedication and misuse of psychotropic medications among young people in the U.S.

A survey finds that 14.2 percent of adolescents ages 13 to 18 years with any mental disorder reported being treated with a psychotropic medication in the last 12 months, which researchers suggest challenges concerns about widespread overmedication and misuse of psychotropic medications among young people in the U.S., according to a study published Online First by Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.

Concern has been raised about inappropriate prescribing of psychotropic medications to children and adolescents, but these criticisms have been based on anecdotal reports, studies of small unrepresentative clinical samples and secondary analyses of large databases on prescription drug use that lacked clinical information, the authors write in the study background.

The study by Kathleen R. Merikangas, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md., and colleagues evaluated the prevalence, demographic and clinical correlates, and specificity of classes of psychotropic medications indicated for mental disorders.

The study involved 10,123 adolescents (ages 13 to 18 years) who participated in the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement between February 2001 and January 2004. Researchers examined mental and neurodevelopmental disorders from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition (DSM-IV).

"Among those with any DSM-IV mental disorder, 14.2 percent reported that they had been treated with a psychotropic medication. Adolescents with ADHD [attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder] had the highest prevalence of medication use (31 percent) followed by those with mood disorders (19.7 percent), eating disorders (19.3 percent), behavior disorders (19.3 percent), substance use disorders (14.4 percent), and anxiety disorders (11.6 percent)," the authors comment.

Antidepressants were most frequently used among those with primary mood disorders (14.1 percent); stimulant use was most common among those with ADHD (20.4 percent); and antipsychotic use was infrequent and mostly seen among those with serious developmental disorders, according to the study results.

According to the authors, "the results challenge recent concerns over widespread overmedication and misuse of prescribed psychotropic medications in U.S. adolescents. There was no compelling evidence for either misuse or overuse of psychotropic medications. Only 14.2 percent of youth with a mental disorder during the past year reported psychotropic use, and the majority who had been prescribed medications, particularly those who received treatment in specialty mental health settings, had a mental disorder with severe consequences and impairment, functional impairment, suicidality, or associated behavioral and developmental difficulties," the authors conclude.

Editorial: Conflicting Data on Psychotropic Use by Children

In an accompanying editorial, David Rubin, M.D., M.S.C.E., of PolicyLab, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, writes, "Are children underusing or overusing psychotropic medications in this country? This is the questions raised by an article in this month's Archives. Contrary to a number of population-based analyses that have described high rates of use, Merikangas et al conclude that many American children with unrecognized psychiatric needs never obtain services and that fewer receive medications even when their concerns are recognized."

"The unfortunate epiphany is that the risk for overprescribing or underprescribing medication is not the same for all children in this country. For many, the challenge of accessing care acts as a natural barrier to prevent excessive medication use, even if those barriers prevent needed treatment for a child."

"To this point, I agree wholeheartedly with Merikangas et al. But for other children, principally those in publicly funded systems, advocacy to increase their access to services has opened a new can of worms; the system that we will expose them to if they swing through the access gate is ill-prepared to provide them with the appropriate services they need," Rubin concludes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Merikangas KR, He J, Rapoport J, Vitiello B, Olfson M. Medication Use in US Youth With Mental Disorders. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 2012; DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.431
  2. Rubin D. Conflicting Data on Psychotropic Use by Children: Two Pieces to the Same Puzzle. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 2012; DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.433

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Study examines psychotropic medication use among U.S. adolescents with mental disorders." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121203163434.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2012, December 3). Study examines psychotropic medication use among U.S. adolescents with mental disorders. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121203163434.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Study examines psychotropic medication use among U.S. adolescents with mental disorders." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121203163434.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins