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Government Programs Push Antidepressant Use on Small Children

July 20, 2006 | 9,844 views

Children in the foster care system, some as young as 3 years old, are being screen for mental illnesses and started on psychiatric drugs for disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. Among children in foster care:

  • 60 percent in Texas take psychiatric drugs
  • Two-thirds in Massachusetts take them
  • 55 percent in Florida take the drugs

Yet, according to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, drugs recommended to treat schizophrenia, biopolar disorder and depression, which were designated as first-line treatments by the Texas Medication Algorithm Project, have not been shown to be more effective or safer than non-drug treatments or older, less expensive drugs.

Further, the drugs were designed to treat adults and now, under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Action Agenda, may be used on children. One of the agenda's programs, called Foundations for Learning, calls for more federal funds and grants to states and agencies to, among other things, provide preschool screening and other services to support social and emotional development in children.

Although the federal government does not have constitutional authority to regulate mental health and early childhood issues, recommendations for mental health programs aimed at children as young as 3, and intervening with some children from birth, exist.

This has the potential to label infants with psychiatric disorders while creating an endless market for psychiatric drugs.



Dr. Mercola's Comments:


It's bad enough that situations exist that cause children to go into foster care, but to add injury to insult by adding drugs to their already full plate of challenges is really tragic. 

If this were the rare event it would still be a tragedy, but what compounds the catastrophe is that this is occurring in some states to more than half the foster children.

If you are new to medicine you might ask why I have such an extreme reaction to this story.

Well, let's review some of the evidence.

For the last several years we have known that antidepressants significantly increase the risk of suicide in children. They have also been associated with violent behavior, which would likely trigger yet additional psychotropic medications to these innocent children.

Two years ago the Canadian Medical Journal published these summary statements

  • The prescribing rate for antidepressants in young people has increased steadily in the past decade


  • Many studies show that antidepressants have little to no effectiveness compared to placebos


  • In addition to their weak or nonexistent evidence of efficacy, antidepressants may have serious side effects in children beyond suicidal behavior, including agitation, irritability and behavioral disinhibition


  • Patient reports of adverse drug reactions are commonly dismissed as anecdotal or unscientific


    These medicines, in no way, shape or form, even begin to treat the foundational cause of this problem, which is related to an excess of grains, sugars, underground vegetables like potatoes, and any fluid other than water.

    This is particularly distressing as the diet changes I recommend work so well. The foods children eat have a far more profound influence on their emotions than you may think. This is particularly true for sugars and grains, which require insulin to metabolize them. Elevated insulin levels will lead to disrupted serotonin and other neurochemicals that will lead to depression.

    It is tragic that wonderful tools like omega-3 fatty acids are not used more frequently.

    Let's face it; we are all fatheads. Sixty percent of your brain is composed of fat and half of that fat is DHA, one of the fats in fish oils. Your body can't make it, and if we don't supply it we will suffer neurological complications. One can certainly be depressed and have adequate amounts of fish oil, but it is a simple, inexpensive and non-toxic strategy that helps many with depression.

    Of course, effective emotional-based treatments will be another important key for these children. My experience is that energy psychology tools are far more effective than traditional psychotherapy.

    Consulting with an EFT professional can be an amazing start. Gary Craig has a list of EFT Practitioner Referrals from the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">United States</st1:country-region> and the world. Many of these therapists even offer a free 15-minute phone session in which you can ask them questions to see if you connect.

    So there are indeed some basic options for these children, and if you have any opportunity to influence one of these children's care I would strongly encourage you to do so. Your simple intervention could change their entire life.



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