There has been a lot of attention on opioids and the ravages of addiction to them. Fortunately, there is also heightened awareness of misuse of and dependence on barbiturates, benzodiazepines many medications used for insomnia.
Other prescribed medications that are scheduled as controlled substances are also frequently misused and can lead to dependence and addiction.
Stimulant medications (amphetamines, methylphenidate) commonly used to treat Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are frequently misused for their energizing and improved concentration effects and dependence can easily occur. Even when stimulant medications are taken as prescribed, developing a tolerance and eventually a dependence over time is not unusual and that is why a responsible prescriber will incorporate “drug holidays” into the medication management plan and interrupt treatment periodically to assess the need for continued use in addition to non-pharmacologic interventions.
It seems that with increased focus on child and adolescent mental health, medication is becoming a part of growing up and prescribing trends have raised concern about overmedication. It is a legitimate concern that deserves a place at the forefront of our minds as we treat the symptoms that interfere with a child’s true potential. Early intervention and responsible prescribing as part of a comprehensive approach to treating psychiatric disorders in children can be, and very often is effective in alleviating current symptoms and preventing the progression of disorder and also preventing the development of additional conditions such as substance use disorders.
How closely do we, as parents, teachers, healthcare professionals, consider the language we use with our children and each other about psychiatric medications? In my own practice as a child and adolescent psychiatric nurse practitioner working with children and families, I have routinely encountered language use that reflects unreal...
There has been a recent dramatic broadening of diagnostic criteria accompanied by an increase in prescription rates of psychoactive medications despite limited understanding of the long-term effects on the developing brain. Untreated mental illness is harmful to brain development and diagnosis and treatment can be beneficial, but an inappropriate diagnostic label and pharmacological intervention instead of teaching children self-regulation, coping skills and accountability for behaviors can have lasting consequences.
A comprehensive psychiatric evaluation can help to determine whether an emotional or behavioral problem is psychiatric in nature, related to a medical condition or possibly a response to something environmentally provoked.
An accurate diagnosis can be validating and lead to much needed, sometimes lifesaving treatment. Efforts to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness has empowered may individuals to seek help rather than suffer in silence. Depression and a...
Millions of people are directly impacted by addiction and the crisis continues to forge a path of destruction with little signs of slowing.
Good people becoming shells of themselves that display and example of what we all would hate to become is heartrending. Young families with so much hope and potential to be the face of America that we all want to be proud of being shattered by the sledgehammer of consequences wielded by addiction is tragic. Neighborhoods and communities buckling under the weight of monetary and social costs of addiction reflected in unemployment, crime rates, incarceration and re-entry services and overall societal impairment is dismal.
Perhaps the greatest and most sickening tragedy is the elusive tradition of self-destruction through the unintentional grooming of the ones who bring the utmost hope. Are we setting our children up to carry the torch of...