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Controversy in Medicating Children

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Medicating children has always been a controversial issue. As you are probably already imagining, there are numerous concerns about this issue. Some people fear that medicating children and adolescents can throw a wrench into healthy development since many medications effect the workings of developing brains. Others are worried because child and adolescent bodies react to medications differently than adult bodies do; they might experience side effects more strongly or new side effects may even arise. What I am particularly interested in, though, is the concern about whether medicating adolescents puts them at a higher risk for later substance abuse. In particular, I am interested in studying children receiving stimulant treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The reason I am focusing on ADHD is because people with attention disorders are thought to be at higher risk for substance use in the first place. They are known to have what many people call ‘an addictive personality’, meaning that they easily become obsessed with or addicted to things. This is not actually a medical term, but is a term that the general population is familiar with. If medicating individuals at a young age increases chances for later substance use, this could be very dangerous. Since there has been a recent rise in the number of children being diagnosed with ADHD, this concern is becoming increasingly important. My purpose in writing this paper is to help reduce worries. According to my research, I have found that medicating children for ADHD does not increase risk for future substance abuse and it might even reduce the risk. As stated before, people diagnosed with attention disorders, especially conduct disorder and att... ... middle of paper ... ...ibed. If parents are knowledgeable about treatment options, it could be beneficial not only to the child, but to the family and other social situations where the child participates. Although medicating children and adolescents is a controversial decision, research suggests that it has constructive lifelong outcomes. References Yang, R. (2010). Does medication benefit the long-term psychiatric outcomes of children with ADHD? The British Journal of Psychiatry, 197 (414) pp. 413-416 Kousha, M., Shahrivar, Z., Alaghband-rad, J. (2011) Substance Use Disorder and ADHD: Is ADHD a Particularly Specific Risk Factor? Journal of Attention Disorders 16 (4) pp. 325-332 Wilens, T. E., Faraone, S. V., Biederman, J., Gunawardene, S. (2003). Does Stimulant Therapy of Attention-Defecit/Hyperactivity Disorder Beget Later Substance Abuse? Pediatrics 111 (1) pp. 179-185
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