Thursday, July 14, 2005

Even babies getting treated as mentally ill

Wish I hadn't run into this tonight. It's an April article. I've become very skeptical but this makes me ill. As I read this I wondered how they would have the numbers with some suspicion.
Doctors prescribed sedatives and powerful, mood-altering medications for nearly 700 Ohio babies and toddlers on Medicaid last summer, according to a Dispatch review of records.
I was at least glad to see several mental health folks who said Enough!
‘‘It’s shocking," said Dr. Ellen Bassuk, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. ‘‘Who’s really being helped by these children being drugged? The babies? Or their caregivers?
‘‘These medications are not benign; they can have dangerous side effects and have to be closely monitored."
So not only are kids in the Medicaid program drugged, the families also have no privacy.
Private insurance plans don’t report how psychiatric drugs are used by their clients, but because Medicaid is government-run, more information is available.
Nearly 40,000 Ohio children on Medicaid were taking drugs for anxiety, depression, delusions, hyperactivity and violent behavior as of July. For the entire year, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services paid out about $65.5 million for kids’ mentalhealth drugs.
Btw, according to a '97 Wall Street Journal article, these now come in
easy-to-swallow forms that will be more palatable to even the youngest tykes: Lilly 's Prozac is already available as a minty liquid; Pfizer is working on a liquid version of Zoloft and an orange-flavored liquid Paxil is nearing approval from the FDA.

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