Is it safe to use psychotropic drugs in children?
Psychotropics are used more and more frequently and in larger quantities. It is mainly about their role as mood stabilisers and alleviating depression symptoms, but they are, of course, used in various types of mental disorders. They are always prescribed by the doctor and should be taken under his control. However, although the use of psychotropic drugs in adults is sometimes necessary, their use by children for many people is controversial. Is that right? In the United States of America alone, in 1995 as many as 20% of preschoolers used psychotropic drugs. This is a worrying trend and it is therefore worth learning more about the possible effects of such action!
Ritalin - a drug for ADHD
Although ritalin was used in the early stages to increase the excitability and mental activity of humans, it was noticed over time that it also has a positive effect on people with ADHD. Excessive stimulation in them caused that taking ritalin caused the opposite effects, that is, it calmed down and allowed concentration for up to 6 hours! This proved to be especially beneficial for children suffering from hyperactivity. Toddlers, who so far had great problems with focusing on lessons, could finally devote themselves to learning. No wonder that many adults breathed a sigh of relief, ensuring that their children systematically take the appropriate dose of medication.
Ritalin - effects of use
The effects of long-term use of ritalin are unpredictable. Many people think that it has no effect on the young organism, but research does not confirm this. Although after 6 hours the agent seems to disappear from the body, it has a different effect on the child's body than on adults. Unfortunately, we do not yet have reliable information on this subject, because children who have started taking ritalin at school are only about 20 years old at the moment.
Experiments in rats have shown, however, that although in older animals this psychotropic agent has not brought about any particular changes in the brain, in juveniles it has led to changes in the brain structure. It has disrupted the growth of dopamine producing neurons - also in those brain centres that are responsible for movement. So the question arises, whether also in people the effect of taking ritalin at young age will not be too strong thinning of neurons. Since they still thin out with age, the effect may be, for example, that Parkinson's disease develops prematurely.
Usually it occurs only around 70 years old, and of course not in all people. Children who take ritalin may have a greater tendency to this disease in the future - and fall ill already at around 40 years of age. However, this is not certain - the research was carried out on too few animals.
Ritalin - precautionary measures
Although one should not worry too much, it is also worth bearing in mind that it is not entirely clear how psychotropic drugs will affect the child's body in the future. They should therefore not be abused. Only qualified doctors can assess whether the use of such a medicine is necessary for the child. This is exactly the case in Sweden, where the doctor must provide a precise justification for discharging the prescription together with the prescription.