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In the recent past, there have been fierce debates about the overmedication of children in the United States of America. The debates have been revolving among parents, in schools, churches and the media. According to McCabe and Steven, there are five major types of psychiatric disorders for which children aged between four and seventeen years are usually prescribed medications. These disorders include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder or disruptive behavior, depression, anxiety and autism. This has resulted into increased medications among children in America. In late 2007, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that nearly ten percent of children in America are taking prescribed medications. This is equivalent to five million children. Similarly, nearly three million parents admitted that their children were receiving medications in 2008. The National Center for Health Statistics also estimated that more than five percent of children in America are taking antidepressants while forty forty-four percent of children aged between six and ten years had received medications at least once during their childhood. In my opinion, children in America are most commonly diagnosed with psychiatric disorders and given psychiatric medications more than in any other developed country. The use of antipsychotic drugs among children in America has dramatically increased in the recent past. This has resulted into overmedication of children.

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Alternatives to Medication of Children

In my opinion, the most effective and safer alternative to medicating children is family therapy that also involves parent education. Family therapy would enable parents to learn appropriate parenting techniques. Family therapy would also help children develop appropriate and socially acceptable behaviors. I would argue that overmedication usually prevents children from learning to control their behaviors and emotions, hence not suitable for their growth and development. In addition, children should be encouraged to do physical exercises regularly in order to reduce stress, depression and anxiety among them. Parents should also strive at finding lasting solutions to social problems and challenges such as drug abuse and peer pressure that are faced by children. This would help in reducing psychological disorders among children; hence reduce the need for psychiatric medications. Moreover, children should be guided and counseled to help them gain adequate awareness of their life situations. Children should also be encouraged to pursue their passions and interests. This would help in reducing stress and depression among children thus lead to reduced need for medications.

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