Each year, many children are overprescribed drugs for different conditions, including mental illness and other medical conditions. The FDA has been cracking down on prescription drugs, particularly narcotics, but the problem is far from being handled. These prescriptions, though legal, tend to have far-reaching consequences that are not always immediate. Parents and guardians need to be diligent in researching not only the side effects of the meds prescribed, but also the conditions that children are being diagnosed with in order to nip the problem in the bud.
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Diagnoses such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention-Deficit/
Watch Your Child for Reactions
One of the most important things to do when your child starts a new medication is to watch them for symptoms. Each one comes with a list of side effects to watch for, with a warning as to which ones are serious and require immediate medical assistance. Note how the medication affects your child, both good and bad. If their behavior improves or their performance in school improves, for example, these are good signs that the drugs are working to balance out uneven brain chemistry. However, if they become lethargic, depressed or start acting out, these are signs that they need either a dosage adjustment or to be removed from the medication entirely. Which brings us to the next point.
Don’t Stop the Drugs Without Professional Help
If you’re unhappy with the prescriptions that your child is on, the worst thing you can do is stop administering them without consulting the child’s physician. Some are so strong that they can cause withdrawal and even result in serious medical conditions that may require hospitalization. Speak with the doctor and let them know your concerns. Sometimes, a lower dose is all you need to eliminate the side effects. Other times, you may need to discontinue the medication but weaning off over the course of a few weeks is necessary. In this case, the doctor will tell you exactly how to do it and which doses to administer to prevent withdrawal that comes with going cold turkey.
Sometimes the problems with prescription drugs are that children are taking them without a script, leading to addiction that you may not notice until it’s too late. They often have access to a variety of drug types through their peers who get them from their parent’s medicine cabinet or a dealer. In this case, education is important and as a last recourse, rehab may be your only solution.