Before I get into my next area of concentration here, I would like to take one last step back to something my opponent seems unable to acknowledge. I
have seen the point made again and again here that most patients with mental illness are not miss-diagnosed. As much as I hate to, I actually have to
agree with my opponent here. You see, had attention been paid to my previous posts, my opponent would have realized that is fairly hard to be
miss-diagnosed, when you have never been diagnosed at all. I refer you again to the study by the New England Research Institute in which it was found
that 43 percent of those taking prescribed medication were never diagnosed with any mental illness at all. How could it be that so many people are
given medication without a diagnosis? It seems as though we have come to a stage in America were all a person needs to do to get a prescription for
antidepressants is simply ask.
Moving on, I’d like to go ahead and jump ahead in the discussion a little. My opponent wants to delve into whether or not there are enough drugs
available for all mental illnesses, and that is something I will be more than happy to do.
First off, let’s take a look at exactly how many drugs there are available right now for all types of mental illness. For the sake of space here, I
won’t list each drug that is available because there are far too many. I will however, refer you to
website in which a master list of medication is given.
From this list, we can see that there are at least 124 different types of mental illness medications specifically prescribed for adults. We can also
see that there are at least 32 types of drugs available specifically for children! Is there really enough demand for these types of drugs in America
that we need over 150 different brands? Let’s explore this a bit further.
Antidepressant sales constitute the largest segment of the medicine market, approximately 24%. In 2004, global sales of antidepressant agents exceeded
$15 billion. Japan is currently a relatively unimportant market for antidepressants, constituting about 5% of the global market; Europe (19%) and
especially the United States (71%) account for most of the global sales of antidepressants. Amazing isn’t it? America accounts for over 70% of all
antidepressant sales in the world! Why is this? Are American citizens really that depressed? Or could it be simply because these drugs are so readily
available in this country?
Let’s be a little more specific in our examination of the increase in mental illness prescriptions though, let’s take a look at children in
particular. Each year, antidepressant use among children and adolescents grows by 10 percent, according to a study published in the April 2004 issue
of Psychiatric Services. Among these children, preschoolers account for the biggest increase in use. That’s right, preschoolers!
In a random, nationwide survey, researchers for Express Scripts studied prescription claim information of over two million commercially-insured young
people, aged 18 and under, from 1998 to 2002. The study resulted in the following conclusions:
• Preschoolers, aged 0 - 5, accounted for the greatest increase in use.
• Among the entire sample of children, antidepressant use increased 49% from 1998 (when it was 1.6%) to 2002 (2.4%).
• Girls accounted for a greater increase in use (68%) than boys (34%) over the course of the study.
• Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were used most often while tricyclic antidepressants were used least.
• During the study, paroxetine (Paxil) use increased 113% in females and 91% in males.
"A number of factors acting together or independently may have led to escalated use of antidepressants among children and adolescents," said Tom
Delate, Ph.D., Director of Research at Express Scripts, in a news release.
According to Delate, one of these factors included:
by health providers that the medications helping adults will also help children and teens. There is the concern that
antidepressants are being prescribed to youths without adequate information
about their safety and efficiency in this population. “
Still don’t think these drugs are handed out too frequently to young children? Take a look at the following article, in which a young girl died from
complications from her antidepressant medication.
Granted the parents are mostly to blame in this case, but the questions must be raised if this little girl should have ever been prescribed this
medicine at all.
Children are at the mercy of their parents and the medical profession when it comes to prescription medication. Increasingly, psychotropic drugs are
being prescribed for children who have been diagnosed with depression or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Are we choosing to medicate because
it is cheaper than evaluation and therapy? I think that question needs to be asked. I also think it pertinent to question whether or not so many
children would be given these drugs if they were not so readily available.
I still believe that answer is no.